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■ . ^^A^i 

* M?LE/\f1* 




JOHN McLEAN, M.A., Ph.D., 


Author of ** The Indians of Canada : Their Manners and Customs, 

etc., etc. 






Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand 
eight hundred and ninety, by William Briggs, Book Steward of the 
Methodist Book and Publishing House, Toronto, at the Department of 


Xlbe /IDen an& Momen 






LONG did we wait for a short biography of the man 
who did so much for the Indian tribes of the great 
North- West, but it came not. Much thought upon our 
negligence in not doing something to remind the Christian 
public of the heroism of a brave Canadian Missionary^ 
caused me to assume the responsibility, although other 
minds and hearts could have done better in inditing a life 
so full of devotion and courage. In the midst of other 
duties these pages have been written, a few at a time, with 
repeated interruptions. I hope that all the imperfections 
will be overlooked in the sincere desire to do something 
that may prove helpful to young and old, and to discharge 
a duty incumbent upon all friends of Canadian Missions, 
and more especially those belonging to the Methodist 


MoosEJAW, Absiniboia, 

March 10th, 1890. 




Parentage and Yodth 13 

The Canadian Aborigines 22 

Beginning op Indian Missions 37 

Evans* Predecessor 56 

Rice Lake , 67 

The Credit 78 

St. Clair 83 

• • • 




Evans' Missionary Lit£bature lOfi 

Lake Superior 119 

Hudson's Bay 145 

The Syllabic System of the Cree Language 160 



Home at Last 191 



Rev. James Evans Frontispiece, 

Indian Summer Dress 19 

Indian of the Camp 26 

Half-Breed 33 

George McDouoall 44 

Becoming Civilized 50 

An Old-Timer 59 

Northern River 66 

The Rapids 76 

Dog Train Squabble 82 

Thunder Cape 92 

Old Fort Garry 104 

Winnipeg in 1871 118 

Winnipeg in 1886 126 

Edmonton 138 

Travelling in the Far North 144 

Eqerton R. Young 150 

Norway House Fort 154 

Rossvillb Indian Mission in 1854 159 

Indian s of the Prairie 176 

Oxford House Mission in 1854 190 


Out and in the river is winding 
The links of its long, red chain 

Through belts of dusky pine-land 
And gusty leagues of plain. 

Only, at times, a smoke-wreath 

With the drifting cloud-rack joins, 
The smoke of the hunting-lodges 
Of the wild Assiniboins ! 

Drearily blows the north-wind 
From the land of ice and snow ; 

The eyes that look are weary. 
And heavy the hands that row. 

And with one foot on the water. 

And one upon the shore, 
The Angel of Shadow gives warning 

That day shall be no more. 

Is it the clang of wild-geese ? 

Is it the Indian's yell 
That lends to the voice of the north-wind 

The tones of a far-off bell ] 


The voyageur smiles as he listens 
To the sound that grows apace ; 

Well he knows the vesper ringing 
Of the bells of St. Boniface. 

The bells of the Roman Mission, 
That call from their turrets twain, 

To the boatman on the river. 
To the hunter on the plain ! 

Even so, in our mortal journey 
The bitter north-winds blow, 

And thus upon life's Red River 
Our hearts, as oarsmen, row. 

And when the Angel of Shadow 
Rests his feet on wave and shore. 

And our eyes grow dim with watching, 
And our hearts faint at the oar. 

Happy is he who heareth 

The signal of his release 
In the bells of the Holy City, 

The chimes of eternal peace ! 

— Whittier. 




MASTER missionaries are born, not made. 
Genius belongs not solely to the ranks of 
literature, science and art ; but in the lower paths of 
life there walk amongst us men worthy to rule by 
right, who leave the impress of their thought upon the 
hearts of their fellows, ever increasing in its produc- 
tive power, until it is recovered upon the other side 
of life. 

Literature, science and art may be called the higher 
walks of life, but they are only so if they lead to 
nobler living; while the loftier paths are those that 
direct to purity of life and development of character, 
and of these none can boast of greater devotion, 
purer thinking and living, and holier aims, than that 
of missions A missionary genius is worthy our 
most enthusiastic study and admiration, for the con- 


templation of such a life is fraught with good. Not 
the life of a missionary merely, are we studying, but 
that of a philologist, inventor, explorer and patriot, 
whose noblest ambition was to live for his country, 
humanity and God. 

James Evans was bom in Kingston-upon-Hull, Eng- 
land, on the eighteenth day of January, in the year 
eighteen hundred and one. His father was a sailor, 
and sailed in the year eighteen hundred as master of 
a merchant vessel for Cronstadt, a Russian port in the 
Baltic, and during his absence James was born. There 
was trouble in Russia, and war was expected to be 
declared against England, an embargo having been 
laid upon all British vessels, and the crews taken into 
the interior of the country ; so Mary Evans, the mother 
of James, felt afraid that her husband would never 
return. The parents of the child were Wesleyan 
Methodists, and the Christian mother took her babe 
to the Carthruse Methodist Church in Hull, where he 
was christened James, after his godly father in the 
land of the Czar. The Emperor Paul having been 
assassinated, the embargo was taken ofi the British 
vessels, and the sailors returned to their island home, 
amongst the number being Captain James Evans, who 
was joyously welcomed by his wife, and the happy 
father rejoiced in his infant boy. The boy grew up 
buoyant in spirits, honest, fearless and intelligent^ 


with a strong desire to follow his father's calling and 
live at home upon the sea. The smell of the salt 
water had great attractions for him, and when only 
eight years of age he was a good swimmer, evidently 
equipped for the hardships and daring of an old salt. 
The sea-captain did not entertain the same opinions 
as the youth, and determined to destroy his foolish 
desires by taking him to sea, that he might prove the 
folly of his choice. When only eight years of age, he 
was taken by his father upon two voyages, one to 
Dantzic, and the other to Copenhagen. He was sub- 
jected to very hard fare during these trial trips, and 
whether or not they had the desired effect, at any rate 
he was not destined to be a sailor, although the lessons 
learned at this time proved to be of great service to 
him in after life, as he labored amongst the Indian 
tribes in the Dominion. 

His father took command of a transport and troop- 
ship named the Triton, and sailed for the Mediter- 
ranean, where the mother of James and his youngest 
brother joined the ship. James and his brother Eph- 
raim — now the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Evans, of London, 
Ontario — were sent to a boarding school in Lincoln- 
shire, to continue their studies during the absence of 
their parents, and at this school James remained until 
he was fifteen years old. 

He was afterwards apprenticed to a grocer, that he 


might learn the trade, and with his employer he 
boarded during his short apprenticeship. His em- 
ployer was an office-bearer in the Wesleyan Methodist 
Church, and he had, therefore, an opportunity of at- 
tending all the services, besides being expected to 
do so. 

The famous Gideon Ouseley, the Irish missionary 
of evangelistic renown, was at this time travelling 
through England, preaching and lecturing on behalf 
of the Irish Churches under his care ; and wherever 
he went he not only collected funds, but won souls for 
his Master. James Evans, attracted by the fame of 
this mighty preacher of righteousness, listened to the 
truth as it fell from his lips, and was smitten with 
sorrow. The saddened heart soon arose from the dust, 
for the joys of the Calvary cross and the glory of the 
celestial land streamed gently down ui>on him, and he 
sang with quivering lip and glowing faith, 

*' My God is reconciled, 

His pardoning voice I hear, 
He owns me for His child, 

I can no longer fear. 
With confidence I now draw nigh, 
And Father, Abba, Father, cry." 

It was Dr. Chalmers, the eminent Presbyterian di- 
vine, who said that " Methodism is Christianity in 
earnest;" and true to her origin and doctrines, the 


young convert was taught how to work, by lisping 
tongue and gentle life. He was placed on the "plan" 
among the prayer-leaders, and initiated into the band 
of earnest toilers who have done so much in the Old 
World and the New to introduce and maintain the 
polity and power of the Methodist Church. Shortly 
afterward he was drafted into the ranks of the faithful 
men — the local preachers — who sang and prayed with 
loosened tongues, 

*' Happy if with my latest breath 
I may but speak His name, 
Preach Him to all, and cry in death, 
Behold ! behold the Lamb !'* 

Such a happy life and such training failed not to 
bring their reward in the development of the powers, 
intellectual and spiritual, of the young man ; and in a 
short space of time he was preaching earnest and 
acceptable sermons to the dwellers in the towns and 
villages around his home. 

The Evans family emigrated to Canada, and settled 
at Lachute, in the Province of Quebec. James was at 
this time engaged in a large glass and crockery estab- 
lishment in London, and came not with the family, 
but remained for about the space of two years, and 
then came to Canada, where he joined his parents and 
friends in their new home. 

City life to a young man is fraught with many 


temptations, especially directed against a life of earn- 
est religion; and during the years spent in London 
the young convert lost his quickened interest and holy 
zeal in matters relating to the heart and life, so that 
he no longer claimed his position as a member of the 
Methodist Church. His love for the Church itself was 
not, however, quenched, as he admired her doctrines 
and polity, and believed in all the fundamental truths 
of our common Christianity. 

A few months after his arrival in Canada he began 
the profession of school-teaching, which, in those days, 
had not become so fully developed as to be worthy 
the name of a profession in the colony. Knowledge 
sufficient for his pupils and aptitude to teach were all 
that were needed to secure a position. The rigid ex- 
aminations of Boards of Examiners, Normal training, 
and certificates from Boards of Education were un- 
necessary things for the young teacher, who had 
oftentimes to " board around " amongst the parents of 
his pupils, and engage in " odd kinds of work," in 
order that he might eke out an existence. A school 
was soon opened near UOrignal, where young Evans 
taught, and during this period of intellectual life and 
labor, he became susceptible to the gentler influences 
of love. It was here that he met Miss Mary Blithe 
Smith, and was charmed by her attractions. The 
friendship tbU8 begun soon ripened into love, and the 


marriage was consnmmated about 1823. Life was 
freighted with responsibilities that aforetime he knew 
nothing of, but the new relation into which he had 
entered secured for him a companion of his joys and 
sorrows, a worthy fellow burden bearer, and one well 
qualified for all the serious duties of a missionary life, 
upon which very soon both should enter. Two years 
of married life were spent in Lower Canada, and then, 
about the year 1825, they removed to Upper Canada, 
guided by the hand of Providence to spheres of use- 
fulness, where they unitedly might receive inspiration 
for earnest, holy toil, by hearing the voice of the Man 
of Nazareth calling them from sin and world-likeness 
to lives of intense devotion to God and man. Appar- 
ently drifting westward, yet certainly guided in a 
definite course, they settled in their new home, and 
not long afterwards a camp-meeting was held at 
Augusta, which they attended, and there James Evans 
felt anew the kindlings of God's love. The consecra- 
tion of the physical, intellectual and spiritual natures 
of the man was complete ; the baptism of the Spirit 
gave full attestation of the acceptation of the sacri- 
fice, and immediately there arose duties and responsi- 
bilities, aspirations and aims, which filled his life with 
a deeper sacredness and a holier meaning, and the joy 
of doing good became his hope and reward. His wife 
bowed at the altar of mercy, seeking pardon and 


purity, and as she wept at the Cross of the Crucified, 
the Master smiled and gently sent her on her way, 
rejoicing in the consciousness of sins forgiven. 

Husband and wife were henceforth partners in one 
glorious hope, united in a common cause, toiling to- 
gether for the weal of humanity, and ever striving 
with all their consecrated powers to lead men into 
paths of usefulness, where God would be their guide 
and friend. The great Master of life was preparing 
them for their life-work, by the impartation of a new 
affection, and the imposing of a burden for soul-saving 
upon their hearts. Young, ardent and hopeful, their 
hearts filled with love to God and man, they were well 
adapted to win souls for Christ, and to lead th^t 
others might follow them in the paths of truth and 



THE native Canadians were a numerous people 
when Jacques Carfcier and his French cour- 
tiers were visited upon Canadian soil by Donnacona, 
the Lord of Canada, and in the simplicity and honesty 
of the forest red man, they accepted without fear the 
hospitality of their brother in white. The bold and 
warlike Iroquois first listened to the sound of the 
Gospel from the lips of the Jesuit missionaries, who 
followed them from camp to camp, dreading not the 
hardships of the journey, the privations of savage life, 
or the warrior's seal ping-knife, if only they might 
baptize a few children or win some of their dusky 
friends into the path of light. Brebeuf and Jogues 
led the way through martyrdom into the homes and 
hearts of the savage tribes, and with cross and rosary, 
enthusiastic men followed, counting not their lives 
dear, that they might enjoy the opportunity of point- 
ing the dying warrior to the Christ of Calvary. The 
French occupation of Canada gave the Jesuits the first 
opportunity, which they embraced, of preaching to 
the Indians. The fall of Quebec, and the subsequent 

TfiE Canadian aJborigines. 

events of that period, prepared the way for the evan- 
gelization of the tribes inhabiting Ontario, western 
and north-western Canada. There were living in 
western Canada bands and tribes belonging to the 
Lenni-Lenape, Algonquin, and Iroquois confederacies, 
who had never seen a missionary or heard the sound 
of Jesus' name. Chippewa, Mississauga, Oneida, Mo- 
hawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Muncey, 
Delaware, Shawnee and Pottawatomie Indians dwelt 
in the forests and along the rivers, worshipping the 
creatures of their own imagination or following the 
doctrines taught by their fathers in their native reli- 
gious system. They painted their bodies in the most 
grotesque fashion, kept up their religious festivals, 
danced at their feasts in accordance with their mar- 
riage, war or social customs, and thought little of the 
morrow. Every crag, rapid, or strangely shaped tree 
had its familiar spirit, which haunted the spot and 
demanded a sacrifice. Superstition filled the hearts 
of the people with fear, and through war, jealousy, 
famine, disease and superstitious dread, they seldom 
enjoyed peace, and placid, permanent joy was a 
stranger to the wigwam or lodge of the red man. 
At the beginning of the present century, Methodism 
was seeking a resting-place in Canada, and occasion- 
ally the preacher, with his saddle-bags, made his 
appearance, stopping at the door of the small log 


cabin, seeking a congregation, addressing the master 
of the habitation in a straightforward manner, "I 
have come to talk to you about religion, and to pray 
with you. If you are willing to receive me for this 
purpose, I will stop ; if not, I will go on." The men 
who visited these humble dwellings in the interests of 
religion were shrewd and intelligent, and in not a few 
instances educated and refined. Inspired by the love 
of God, and yearning for the salvation of their fel- 
lows, they left the college campus, with all its hal- 
lowed associations ; the homes of their childhood, so 
full of endearing memories ; the populated village, 
town or city, with the refining influences of cultured 
society, and into the wilds of the west they went, 
happy in the consciousness of sins forgiven, preaching 
Christ the crucified, and a hope of heaven. 

Happy days were these, so full of hardship and 
toil, but blessed in results. One of the most notable 
of the early Methodist preachers who visited Canada, 
and spent some years there, was Nathan Bangs, whose 
memory is precious to all Methodists in Canada, and 
is treasured in the literature of United States Method- 
ism. He came as a young surveyor in 1799 to Canada 
to practise his profession, and whilst living with his 
pious sister and her husband, he gave his life to God. 
He was sent out to preach in 1802, remained a few 
years in the country, returned to the United States, 


held important positions in the Church, and became 
honored in literature as the historian of Methodism. 

Mr. Bangs passed through some strange experiences 
in the country, which he afterwards related with much 
zest. On his way to one of his preaching places, he 
was detained by a broken bridge and a dangerous 
creek, so he found shelter in the home of an Indian 
trader, where a dance was going on. After having 
danced till near midnight, the people were still deter- 
mined to continue, but the young preacher was anxious 
to have them desist, and he tells us the result of his 
stay in that home in the following language : 

" I then said to the chief trader, who had become 
very friendly with me, * With your permission I will 
address a few words to the people/ He assented, and 
requested them to give attention. I arose and ad- 
dressed them in substance as follows : ' It is now 
midnight, and the holy Sabbath is begun. You have 
amused yourselves with dancing, I think, long enough 
to satisfy you, if not to fatigue you ; and if you con- 
tinue it any longer you will not only be transgressing 
the law of God, but likewise the law of your country. 
I advise you, therefore, to desist, and to retire to rest.' 
They complied so far as to cease dancing. But the 
Indian trader came to me and said, ' The Indians are 
encamped a short distance from us, and they expect a 
dance here, as I have promised them one.* He asked 


mj permissioQ to let them have it I replied I had no 
control over his house or the Indians, but if he would 
dispense with the revel he would highly gratify me, 
and, I doubted not, please God. He rejoined that, as 
he had promised them the dance, they would expect 

it. He then went to the door, and gave the Indian 
whoop, and down came the savages and began an 
Indian dance, which, with their drumming on an old 
pan, their frequent yells, their stamping and bodily 
distortions, presented a spectacle fit for pandemonium. 


I requested the trader to assist me in conversing with 
them. To this he assented, when the chief of the 
Indians presented himself before me with great dig- 
nity and gravity. I asked him if he knew whence he 
had descended. He replied, " Yes ; the Great Spirit 
at first made one man and one woman, placed them 
on an island an acre in size ; thence they were driven 
out, for an act of disobedience, to the continent, and 
from them they were descended." I then gave him 
an account of the creation of the world, of man in 
particular, of his fall and its consequences. I asked 
him if he had ever heard of Jesus Christ. He replied, 
"No." I then gave him an account of our Lord's 
birth, His life, miracles and teachings. His sufferings 
and death. While describing the death of Christ, the 
chief pointed to his heart and lifted his eyes and 
hands towards heaven, apparently filled with amaze- 
ment. When I had concluded, he clasped me in his 
arms, kissed me, and called me father, and entreated 
me to come and live with him and be the teacher of 
his people. After assuring him of my affection for 
them, and the deep interest I felt in their eternal wel- 
fare, I told him that I could not comply with his 
request, but that the time was not far distant when a 
Christian teacher should be sent to them. They then 
retired to their encampment. But the worst of this 
strange night was still to come. There were two 


traders present, one of whom, the head man, had be- 
come intoxicated, and still wanted more liquor. The 
other refused to let him have it. The dispute ran 
high, and the drunken trader raised his fist to strike 
the other, when I stepped in and arrested the blow. 
He then swore that if he was not allowed more whis- 
key, he would call the Indians and fall upon and mur- 
der us all. He accordingly went to the door, and 
gave the murderous " whoop," and the Indians came 
rushing to the house. Meantime, those within armed 
themselves as well as they could with sticks and 
clubs, determined to defend themselves to the utmost. 
I shuddered for the consequences. The enraged man 
then said, " Here are my guards at the door ; if you 
will give me more whiskey, well ; if you will not, 
they shall fall upon you, and we will murder you all." 
" Will you ? " the other exclaimed, and lifted his hand 
to strike him down. I again stepped between them, 
and placing my hand upon the drunken man's shoul- 
der, said, ' Come, my friend, let us go to sleep. If you 
will be my friend, I will be yours.* He consented. 
We laid down upon a bed, and in a few minutes he 
was asleep. I then arose. The Indians had retired 
to their camp, and at dawn I started on my way, 
persuading two men to accompany me to the creek 
and help me over by laying logs on the broken bridge. 
I passed on, praising God for delivering me from the 


perils of this dismal night, and for ' enabling me to 
prevent the shedding of blood, as well as for the ' 
pleasing interview I had with the Indian chief." 

The interest manifested by Dr. Bangs, when a young 
man, in the native tribes of Canada, continued through- 
out his scholarly life after his departure to the United 
States, and upon several occasions was he able to 
render very efficient and acceptable help to the mis- 
sionaries laboring for the elevation of the Red Race. 
In the early years of the present century there was 
little interest shown in the religious welfare of the 
Indians of Ontario, and the scientific study of the 
literature, languages and customs of the Indians had 
not yet begun. Occasionally a traveller, more observ- 
ant than his fellows, noticed the marks of native cul- 
ture in the relics of the people, and being favorably 
impressed with what he saw, wrote for the benefit of 
others the results of his study and travel. One of 
these studious travellers was the Rev. Dr. Reed, whose 
records illustrative of Canadian Indian life are worthy 
of perusal and preservation. '* At the head of Lake 
Ontario there is a considerable body of water, separ- 
ated from the lake by a sandy beach about five miles 
in length, and from eighty to one hundred yards in 
width. The water thus separated from the lake is 
called Burlington Bay, at the upper end of which 
now stands the city of Hamilton. The outlet of the 


bay into the lake is near the north end of the beach, 
and is celebrated as a famous fishing place. The In- 
dians have some curious traditions concerning this 
particular region, to which I will presently refer. I 
noticed, m passing over this beach, singular excava- 
tions at regular intervals about midway between the 
lake and the bay. They were about twenty or thirty 
rods apart, originally of a square form, and measuring 
from ten to fifteen yards on a side. They were evi- 
dently artificial, and of a very ancient date, as in 
some instances old trees were growing within them, 
and the Indians had no tradition of their origin or 
design. I judge that they must have been intended 
for military use. At the north end of the beach, on 
the main land, beautifully situated near the lake 
shore, was the elegant residence of Colonel Brant, 
son of the old chief of revolutionary celebrity. * The 
Colonel was an educated and well-bred gentleman, 
and with his family associated with the higher classes 
of society. In this immediate vicinity the soil was 
mingled with vast quantities of human bones, stones, 
arrow-heads, hatchets, etc., the weapons of ancient 
Indian warfare. In sight of the mansion, and in plain 
view of the road, was a large mound of earth tilled 
with human bones. One or two others stood near, 
but had been demolished. In several instances, I was 
informed, stone hatchets and arrow-heads had been 


found iirmly fixed in skulls, plainly indicating that 
the victims had fallen in some hostile encounter. 

The Indian traditions respecting these bones is as 
follows : " The Chippewas once had undivided posses- 
sion of this region of country, and for many years 
enjoyed the monopoly of its fine hunting grounds and 
fishing places. The Mohawks on the east of the lakes, 
in what is now Western New York, had long coveted 
this territory, and finally resolved upon an attempt to 
conquer it and dispossess its rightful owners. Ac- 
cordingly they crossed the Niagara River, marched up 
the lake to the bay, fought their way across the beach, 
and on the main land, where now lay the bones of 
slaughtered thousands, fought a long, terrible, and 
final battle. 

"The Mohawks say they defeated and scattered the 
Chippewas ; and, among the rest, the Rev. John Sun- 
day, a chief of that nation, says that they successfully 
repelled the Mohawk invasion. And this version is 
supported by their keeping possession of the grounds, 
the Mohawks of the Grand River being deported to 
this country by the British Government, at the close 
of the Revolutionary War, and not originally indi- 
genous to the soil." 

Dr. Reed was not versed in Indian lore, and conse- 
quently was unable to give accurately, in detail, the 
records of traditional battles, migrations and customs, 


'still these jottings reveal the occasional sympathetic 
student, anxious to aid the Indians, the man of science 
and the missionary in his toil. There were some per- 
sons interested in the aborigines, but it was a matter 
of pecuniary self-interest. The native hunters and 
trappers had furs to sell, and they required some of 
the necessaries of life, so traders were induced to go 
amongst the tribes buying and selling, and invariably 
making their homes with them. The traders were 
generally men of small capital, who saw that they 
could easily make money through a system of Indian 
merchandise. Accordingly, they purchased a small 
supply of goods, amongst which were generally some 
kegs of whiskey, and proceeding to the Indian camp 
they carried on their " trades " by means of barter. 
Some of these traders visited these camps at stated 
periods and then left, but others built houses, lived 
with the Indians, and marrying some of the dusky 
maidens, spent their lives in the vicinity of the camps. 
Sometimes there were found men of intelligence, de- 
scended from an ancient and honorable stock, acting 
as Indian traders. Lured by the hope of gain, or 
thrown by fickle fortune upon the mercies of a cold 
and cruel world, they had drifted toward the red 
man*s refuge. In general, the life of an Indian trader 
was one of debauchery, immorality and pain. Whis- 
key demoralized the Indians, and the trader then took 


advantage of them to increase his wealth by fair 
means or foul, A few of the traders engaged in their 
business in an honorable \ray, refusing to sell whiskey, 
and seeking to deal honestly ; they felt that the na.- 
tives had souls, and were entitled to respect and love. 

The settlements of the white people in the country 
being new, and the settlers poor, the ministers who 
carried the Gospel to them were compelled to|,live on 
scanty fare, dress in the plainest fashion, ride long 
distances between the preaching places, and perform 
missionary toil, as difficult, and more uninviting than 


is be found in China, India, Africa or Japan. There 
were severe hardships, and small salary, hard work 
and little rest. The days of Indian missions had not 
arrived, for the ministers were few, and all their time 
was fully occupied with the missions to the white 
people. The Indians might attend the services held 
on these missions, but they seldom understood the 
language of the descendants of the white conquerors, 
and they felt their inferior position, arising from 
drunkenness, disease and poverty, so they sought not 
the teachings of the Nazarene. The Man of Nazareth 
was nothing to them, believing as they did and cherish- 
ing deeply their native religion. Lack of men and 
funds prevented anything being done on their behalf, 
but there were many persons interested in their wel- 
fare, temporal and spiritual, who sought to help them 
toward a better life. About the year eighteen hun- 
dred and twenty, there arose a keen and abiding 
manifeststion of sympathy and love toward these 
neglected children of the forest, which was felt in the 
Christian communities and ultimately resulted in the 
organization of missions and schools. The Rev. 
William Case had been touched by the wretchedness 
which he witnessed in the Indian camps, as he rode to 
the white settlements, and he desired earnestly to 
lead these people in the way of peace and light and 
truth. The desire begotten in his breast increased. 


until it burned as the ruling passion of his life for 
thirty years. He became the presiding genius of the 
Indian work in the country, the Canadian Apostle of 
the Indians, seeking and finding men and money for 
sending the Gospel to these people, training teachers 
and preachers, educating the Indian youth, superin- 
tending translations of hymns, portions of the Bible, 
and other kinds of literature, and caring for the 
manual training of the Indians. It was he who dis- 
covered and trained James Evans, inventor of the 
Cree Syllabic system ; George McDougall, the mission- 
ary martyr of the Saskatchewan; Henry B. Steinhauer, 
who translated the greater part of the Bible into the 
Cree language, Kahkewayquonaby — Peter Jones — 
native preacher, translator and author ; Shawundais — 
John Sunday— the Indian chief, orator and missionary, 
and a host of others who have devoted time, energy, 
talent and wealth for the salvation of the Indian race. 
Christianize and then civilize the Indians, was his 
motto. Still he did not perform mission work and 
neglect the civilization, for he toiled amid innumer- 
able difficulties that he might teach the people the art 
of self-support, and on his mission at Alderville, the 
Manual Labor School was part of the religious life of 
the Indian youth. Dr. Reed mentions an instance of 
Case's work amongst the Indians before the era of 
Indian missions in Upper Canada had dawned. '' An 


instance of the happy illustration of the truth: he 
was preaching once to a company of Indians, and en- 
deavoring to impress them with the idea of the great 
love of God in giving His Son to die for the world. 
They shook their heads and murmured their dislike 
of the idea that an innocent being should be made to 
die for the guilty. Perceiving this, he related to them 
the story of Pocahontas and Captain Smith, of which 
they had traditional knowledge. He told them how 
the king's daughter threw herself upon the body of 
the victim whom her father had abandoned to death, 
and declared they might kill her, but they must not 
kill the white man, and thus, for her sake, his life was 
saved. Immediately the Indians showed the most 
lively and intense interest, and seemed to comprehend 
and approve the plan of salvation by the death of 
Christ." The enthusiasm existing in the breasts of a 
few men in the work of Christianizing the Indians 
rapidly spread, and the scattered bands heard with 
joy the good news of salvation through the Great 
Master of Life, Jesus Christ. 




CANADIAN Protestant Indian Missions began 
about the year eighteen hundred and twenty. 
Previous to that time David Zeisberger had fled 
to Canada with his Christian Wyandots and estab- 
lished an Indian mission, which was .cared for by 
this faithful man of God, and his fellow Moravian 
missionaries, but all other attempts were lacking in 
organization and failed. ' A wave of Christian influ- 
ences seemed to have been borne westward about this 
period, and blessed results followed. 

Roman Catholic Indian mission work originated 
with Las Casas, whose zeal and love manifested among 
the Indians in Mexico, begat animosity and strife, and 
the Spanish conquerors detested the faithful priest 
who dared to care for the Indians' souls, and confront 
the selfish interests of his own countrymen. The story 
of his devotion, sufferings and perseverance have 
blessed the toilers among men in many lands. 

David Zeisberger labored for sixty years as a mis- 
sionary to the red men, and the records of his life 
contain grammars, dictionaries, hymn-books, portions 


of the Scriptures, and books of various kinds, trans- 
lated or prepared in the Delaware and other Indian 
languages. John Eliot toiled amid the opposition of 
the colonists among the Indians, teaching, fanning, 
building, preaching and translating; and strange sen- 
sations take possession of us as we gaze upon his 
translation of the Bible, and learn that there are only- 
eight copies of the book in existence, one scholar alone 
in the world able to read it, and not a single descen- 
dant living of the people for whom this translation 
was made. David Brainerd spent four successful 
years amongst the Dela wares, and rejoiced in seeing 
hundreds converted to the Christian faith. John B. 
Finlay among the Wyandots, and other faithful men 
in the camps by the rivers, in the forests and upon 
the prairies, told the story of redeeming love, and the 
painted savages forsook the scalp-dance and heathen 
feasts for the forest temple where God was praised. 
Many of the red men laid aside the scalp-lock, carried 
the beautiful white wampum belts with the design of 
the cross neatly inwrought with shells, symbolical of 
the Christian faith, buried the hatchet, and became 
teachers of righteousness. In Great Britain, United 
States and Canada there sprang up, at once in the 
breasts of Christian people, intense sympathy for the 
Indians. The missionary zeal spread, and men 
travelled independently to the camps to tell " the old, 


old story " to painted, eager listeners. In the home 
circle, at social gatherings, and church conferences, the 
clergy and laity spake of sending the Gospel to the 
Indians. In Ontario, the English Church and the 
Methodist Church contemplated sending missionaries 
to the wigwams ; and in the Red River Settlement, 
westward toward the fertile lands of Manitoba and 
the North- West Territories, the Rev. John West, in 
eighteen hundred and twenty, began his labors among 
the white settlers and Indians. For several years 
William Case had been seeking to help the Indians, 
having witnessed the degradation of the Mississaugas 
around Burlington Bay, and the need of the Six 
Nations for some power stronger than they possessed 
to elevate them intellectually and spiritually, being 
anxious to lead men to God. The report of successful 
labor among the Wyandots in the United States gave 
a fresh impetus to his zeal, so that he was ever urging 
his people to remember in their prayers the native 
tribes of Canada. 

At the Conference held in July, eighteen hundred 
and twenty-one, William Case and Henry Ryan, with 
three other gentlemen, were appointed a " Committee 
on Indian Affairs,*' and during this year matters had 
progressed so favorably that an opening was effected 
for beginning missionary work on a systematic plan. 
Whilst William Case was meditating upon these 


things, and urging people to care for the Indians, there 
went on a visit to the Six Nation Indians at Grand 
River the Rev. Alvin Torry, who became deeply im- 
pressed that something should be done for the spiritual 
welfare of the people. Torry related the events of 
his visit to William Case, and mutual was the surprise, 
for financial help had been promised Case to send a 
man, and he found the missionary needed in Alvin 
Torry, who became the first Indian missionary of the 
Methodist Church in the Dominion. At the same 
time there went from Saratoga, N.Y., Seth Crawford, 
a young man anxious to learn the language of the 
people that he might win their souls for God, and on 
the Grand River Mission he labored as a school teacher, 
boarding with the Indians and rejoicing in successful 

Among the Six Nation Indians at Grand River there 
officiated occasionally, in the old Mohawk Church on 
the Reservation, an English Church clergyman from 
one of the neighboring settlements, and an Indian 
chief performed the duties of catechist. The Mohawjk 
Church was the oldest Protestant Church in Ontario. 
The Grand River Mission, begun by Alvin Torry and 
Seth Crawford, under the direction of William Case, 
was the first Methodist Indian Mission in the Dominion. 
Amongst the first converts of this mission were Peter 
Jones and his sister Kahkewayquonaby — Peter 


Jones^became deeply serious on religious matters, 
through associating with Seth Crawford and listening 
to the sermons preached by Alvin Torry, Edmund 
Stoney, and other preachers of the Gospel. At a 
camp-meeting held in the township of Ancaster, when 
William Case requested all who had been converted to 
stand, Peter Jones and his sister arose ; and then, as 
Elder Case recognized the young man in the group of 
those standing, he exclaimed, " Glory to God, there 
stands a son of Augustus Jones, of the Grand River, 
amongst the converts ; now is the door opened for the 
work of conversion among his nation ! " And so it 
proved, for Peter Jones became a zealous and success- 
ful missionary, through whose efforts John Sunday 
and thousands of Indians belonging to the Ojibway, 
Six Nation and other Indian tribes were led to Christ. 
The missionaries to the white settlers visited the 
Indian camps when their time and pressing duties per- 
mitted ; but there were so many difficulties connected 
with Indian missionary work that it seemed hopeless 
i^ the beginning. Drunkenness prevailed to such an 
extent among the tribes, that men of faith and zeal 
doubted the propriety of engaging in missionary work 
amongst them. Torry says, that he " was accustomed 
to cross the Grand River within a few miles of the 
Mohawk tribe, and frequently met with groups of 
them here and there, and not unfrequently saw them 


lying drunk around huckster shops kept by white 
people for the purpose of getting the Indians drunk, 
and then robbing them of all that was of use to them. 
But it had never occurred to me that the Gospel of 
Christ could be the power of God to the scdvation of 
the Indians.'' Peter Jones states : " Shortly after this 
we removed from the head of the lake to the Grand 
River, and settled among the Mohawk Indians. 
These people were professedly members of the Church 
of England, and had an old church — the oldest in the 
Province — where a number assembled every Sabbath 
to hear the prayers read by one of the chiefs, named 
Henry Aaron Hill. They were also visited occasionally 
by ministers of the Church of England. I regret to 
state that the Gospel preached among them seemed to 
have little or no effect upon their moral conduct. In 
this respect they were no better than their pagan 
brethren. Drunkenness, quarrelling and fighting were 
the prevailing vices of the Six Nations of Indians. 
They were also much given to fiddling and dancing. 
In all these things, I believe the Mohawks excelled 
the other tribes." The Indians were deeply attached 
to their native religion and delighted in the feasts, 
sacrifices, amulets, and other religious beliefs and 
customs. Gospel influences, introduced by the mis- 
sionaries, however, soon wrought decided changes 
among them, so that in a short time they rejoiced in 


their new-found joy, and the hearts of the men who 
had begun to toil amongst them were strangely 
warmed and encouraged to go on in the path of Indian 

William Case saw the divine guidance in the work 
in which he had so earnestly engaged, and he writes to 
the Methodist Magazime, published in New York, on 
the 27th of August, 1823 : " To the friends of Zion it 
will be a matter of joy to hear that a fine work of 
religion is progressing among the Indians on Grand 
River. Last Sabbath several of them attended our 
quarterly meeting at Long Point, and in love-feast 
they spoke in an impressive manner of their late con- 
version, and the exercise of grace on their hearts. 
One of them said he had been desirous of knowing 
the way of peace for thirty years, but had not found 
it till lately Jesus gave him peace. The work is pre- 
vailing in the north part of the reservation, where a 
few of different tribes are settled together. This we 
think to be a favorable circumstance in the providence 
of God, for the instruction of the other tribes. Their 
meetings are powerful, and some overwhelming, and 
it is a most affecting scene to hear these children of 
the forest, in their native Mohawk and Mississauga, 
weeping for their sins, or giving glory to God for 
redemption through the Saviour. About twelve or 
fourteen have obtained a joyful hope ; some are now 


under awakening ; and others are coming to inquire 
what these strange thirigs mean ! Their meetings are 
remarkably solemn, and they vent their feelings with 
abundance of tears. Among the converted are men 
who had long drank the poisonous fire of ardent 
spirits from the hands of pernicious white men. They 
are now sober and watchful Christians, taking only 
' the cup of salvation, and calling on the name of the 
Lord.' " 

The good work of grace so auspiciously begun con- 
tinued to grow, until the men forsook the cup and 
dance, and learned to toil in hope for their daily 
bread. The women revealed to the world the power 
and value of the religion of the Christ by cleanlier 
homes and holier lives. Some very striking instances 
of conversion took place, notably among the women 
in the wigwams. Two women became deeply con- 
cerned about the salvation of their souls, one of whom 
had in former years been a happy follower of Christ, 
but yielding to temptation, she had lost her peace of 
mind and hope of eternal life. When she found anew 
the Redeemer of men, she began to toil for souls. The 
other was a poor sufferer in body, and, added to her 
personal physical affliction, many heavy trials had 
befallen her family which had weighed heavily upon 
her spirit. The happy convert urged her to pray, 
that relief might come to body and soul. As she 


went to the spring for water, she turned aside several 
times to pray, and at last became insensible. Upon 
recovering, she returned home and earnestly continued 
her supplications, with her children gathered around 
her. Her eldest daughter became deeply impressed, 
and besought pardon upon her knees. Soon she was 
rejoicing in the possession of that "peace of God 
which passeth all understanding," and then the 
youngest, aged four years, began to say to the mother, 
*' Send for the minister." The light soon dawned 
upon the darkened, weary soul, and joy unspeakable 
chased the grief away. 

Seth Crawford, while laboring among these people 
at Grand River in 1823, mentions a meeting held on 
the last Sabbath of July, which was remarkable for 
its results. "During singing and prayer there was 
much melting of heart and fervency throughout the 
assembly. Some trembled and wept, others sunk on 
the floor, and there was a great cry for mercy through- 
out the congregation. Some cried in Mississauga, 

* Chemenito ! Kitta maugesse, chemuch nene,' etc., i,e., 

* Great Good Spirit ! I am poor and evil,' etc. Others, 
in Mohawk, prayed, ' Oh Sayaner, souahhaah sadoeyn 
Roewaye, Jesus Christ, tandakweanderhek,' thai is, 

* O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, have 
mercy on us.' Others were encouraging the penitents 
to cast their burdens on the Lord. Others, again, were 


rejoicing over their converted friends and converted 
neighbors. In this manner the meetings continued 
throughout tjie day. While these exercises were 
going on, a little girl ran home to call her mother, 
who came directly over to the meeting. On entering 
the room where the people were praying, she was 
smitten with conviction and fell down, crying for 
mercy. While in this distress, her husband was 
troubled lest his wife should die, but was happily dis- 
appointed when, a few hours after, her sorrows were 
turned into joy, and she arose praising the Lord. 
From this time the husband set out to serve the Lord, 
and the next day he also found peace to his soul, as I 
will hereafter relate. During the day several found 
the Saviour's love, and retired with great peace and 
comfort ; while others, with heavy hearts, wept and 
prayed as they returned comfortless to their habita- 
tions. The next day I visited them, when they wel- 
comed me with much affection, delcaring what peace 
and happiness they felt since their late conversion. A 
number soon came together, among whom was the 
Indian who, the day before, was so concerned for his 
wife. His convictions for sin appeared deep, and his 
mind was in much distress. We joined in prayer for 
him ; when I had closed, an Indian woman prayed in 
Mohawk. While she was, with great earnestness, pre- 
senting to the Lord the case of this broken-hearted 


sinner, the Lord set his soul at liberty. Himself and 
family have since appeared much devoted to the ser- 
vice of the Lord. The next morning, assisted by an 
interpreter, I again preached to the Indians. After 
the meeting, observing a man leaning on the fence 
weeping; I invited him to a neighboring thicket, where 
I sung and prayed with him. I then called on him 
to pray ; he began, and cried aloud for mercy with 
much contrition of spirit ; but his tone was soon 
changed from prayer to praise. The work is spread- 
ing into a number of families. Sometimes the parents, 
sometimes the children, are first brought under concern. 
Without delay they fly to God by prayer, and gener- 
ally they do not long mourn before their souls are at 
liberty. The change which has taken place among 
these people appears very great, and, I doubt not, will 
do honor to the cause of religion, and thereby glorify 
God, who has promised to give the Gentiles for the 
inheritance of His Son.'* 

The subject of Canadian Indian missions began to 
attract seriously the attention of Christian people, 
and at the missionary meetings it was the theme of 
the ablest speakers. At the first anniversary of the 
Canada Conference Missionary Society, held on Sep- 
tember, 1825, at the Fifty Mile Creek, Peter Jones 
and others attended the meeting, which was addressed 
by the eloquent and dignified Mohawk chief, Thomas 


Davis. He was an able and useful man, of whom it 
has been written, " As an orator, he would have graced 
any of our legislative halls, and he far exceeded many 
who hold themselves up as patterns in that art." 
Bishop Hedding listened to his relation of Christian 
experience in his native Mohawk at this missionary 
meeting, and said, " I have seen many who professed 
to know the rules of elocution, and those who carried 
their principles out in practice, but never before did 
I see a perfect orator." In the United States William 
Case introduced the subject at the missionary meet- 
ings, and the audiences were thrilled and melted to 
tears with his narration of the progress of the Gospel 
among the sons of the forest. 

During a visit paid to his friends in the interests of 
the Canadian Indians, he addressed the Conference 
Missionary Meeting held at Lansing, N.Y., on August 
17th, 1825, in which he is reported to have said many 
touching and attractive things about the Indians on 
the Grand River Mission. The people bordering on the 
reservation were deeply anxious on religious matters, 
and while the minds of Christian people were engaged 
in meditating on schemes for sending the Gospel to 
these Indians, generous donors came forward with 
help, and God touched the hearts of Crawford, Torry 
and others, compelling them by the Divine power of 
love to go forth to toil for the souls of these people. 


Blessed results had followed the eBtablishment of the 
miseioo, and the ministrations of these faithful men. 
" The eifects of the Gospel have been great and salu- 
tary^. Many converts might be named; I will mention 
only a few. A principal chief in the Mohawk nation 

was a sedate and steady man before, but it was not 
till he heard the Gospel in its power that he experi- 
enced a gracious change. This laid the foundation of 
that burning zeal for his people, that he exhorts them 
deeply ; and to encourage a school for the youth and 


children, gave up his own house and retired for the 
winter to his cabin in the woods. Another had been 
a great prodigal, having expended in gambling and 
drunkenness a considerable estate left him by his 
father. But he had spent all, and was a poor unhappy 
sinner when he was brought to consider his condition 
and seek the Saviour. He is now a new man and a 
happy Christian, and is employed in teaching a school 
of Indian children among his people. 

" The last I shall mention is Peter Jones, of whom 
mention has been made in the reports and magazines. 
This youth is a Chippawa (Mississauga) of some 
education, and of hope and promise to his nation 
and the Church. Soon after his conversion he com- 
menced a school in his father's house, where he 
brought the orphans whom he gathered up, and taught 
them to read, and also taught them the way to heaven. 
He is now a good exhorter, and speaks his own lan- 
guage and the English fluently. Peter now traverses 
the forest in search of the wild men of his nation — 
talks to them of Jesus and the great, good Spirit. 
By this means a number have been brought to God, 
among whom is a principal chief who has pitched his 
tent at the Mission House, and who, with a number of 
his family, have become members of the Church. 
This work has now been going on for two years, and 
such has been the depth and stability of the work, 


that rarely an instance has occurred of intemperance. 
The Mississaogas, the most besotted for intoxication, 
have renounced strong drink altogether. They are 
now commencing improvements in civilized life, and 
are very desirous to have their children learn to read 
the good book. The translation of the Scriptures is 
going forward in the Mohawk, and the Gospel of St. 
Luke is now ready for the press. As a further evi- 
dence that this work is of God, the converts love one 
another ; they love their enemies ; they love their 
neighbors as themselves. Some centuries ago, the 
Mohawks, the Cayugas, and other Confederate nations, 
pitched their tents on the banks of these lakes, where 
you are now encamped. They made war on the great 
Chippawa nation, of the northern lakes. Thousands 
fell, of whose tombs hundreds are now to be seen at 
the head of Ontario. These wars had created a hatred 
which ages have not been able to wear away, till 
lately. The pious Mohawks, who inhabit the richest 
lands, have said to the Chippawas, ' Come and plfiint 
com on our lands, and send your children to our 
schools.' And the converted Chippawas, forgetting 
their former animosity to the Mohawks, are now 
enjoying the fruits of their fields, and the benefit of 
the school." 

Some of the young men on the Indian reserves, 
whos§ hearts the Lord had touched, were accustomed 


to repair to the woods at sunrise, and there pour out 
their complaints to God. When the missionaries 
visited some of these reserves which were under the 
direction of a school teacher, the people flocked to the 
place of meeting at the sound of the shell or horn. 
As regularly as the hour of nine in the morning ar- 
rived, one of the Indians blew the horn to call the 
people to service, and eagerly they responded. Sol- 
emnly they knelt in prayer, asking God's blessing 
upon the service, and in response to a hymn named 
by the leader or missionary, they sang sweetly in 
their native Mohawk, Ojibway or Delaware. The 
missionary sometimes preached through an inter- 
preter, a few sentences being given and then inter- 
preted, but there were occasions on which an Indian 
of rare intelligence was found able to listen to the 
entire discourse, and then translate the whole rapidly, 
without losing a single idea. I have read of instances, 
which I seriously doubt, of Indians translating a dis- 
course of twenty or thirty minutes' duration, after it 
had been delivered, without missing a single word or 
in any way changing the form of a single sentence. 
From my own experience with interpreters, and my 
knowledge of the difference in construction between 
the Indian and English languages, I consider this to 
be an impossibility, unless a man were gifted with the 
memory of a Richard Parson. After the missionary's 


discourse some of the Indians in the audience gave 
exhortations to the people, and others related their 
Christian experience, the whole service concluding 
with prayer by the Indians. 

Late in December, 1823, the Rev. James B. Finley, 
the famous Wyandot missionary, left his home in the 
Sandusky Mission, in Ohio, and accompanied by three 
converted Wyandots from the mission, crossed the river 
Detroit, landing at a camp of the Wyandots on the 
Canard river, a few miles from the town of Amherst- 
burg, whore he intended spending Christmas with the 
Indians. The Indians preached to their friends, and 
then the missionary preached for three hours, through 
an interpreter. Having finished his sermon, he formed 
those who were desirous of being Christians into a 
class, of whom twelve signified their intention ; and 
with a leader, this constituted the second Methodist 
Indian Society in Canada, which was instrumental in 
doing good to these Indians. The members of the 
Legislature having heard of the success of the Gospel 
among the Indians on the Grand River reservation, 
extended the Common School Act to Indian schools, 
by which they could participate in Government grants. 
Torry and Crawford, who had toiled so hard and so 
effectively among the Mohawks, were at last induced, 
by home influences and other circumstances, to leave 
the Indian mission field. Seth Crawford labored for 


two years among the Mohawks, studying their 
language, living with them, working as a farmer, 
teacher and missionary, and very many were led 
through his devoted example to abandon their 
heathenism and follow the Master, Christ. 

Alvin Torry labored for five years among the Mo- 
hawks, and from his lips the Mississaugas and Muncey 
Indians heard the Gospel. Receiving an appointment 
in the Genesee Conference, he went there, thus becom- 
ing separated from the work which he had begun. 
The origin of Indian missionary work in Upper 
Canada must ever have associated with it the names 
of the pious shoemaker, Edmund Stoney, Alvin Torry, 
Seth Crawford, William Case and Peter Jones. 

These early workers were loved, trusted, and 
mourned for by the Indians who forsook drunkenness 
and debauchery through their faithful ministrations. 
The present condition of the Six Nation Indians as 
farmers, enjoying excellent social advantages, schools 
and churches, and surrounded with all the political 
privileges and discoveries of science and art of the 
closing years of the nineteenth century, presents a 
striking contrast to the dawn of the century, when 
superstition, vice and degradation ruled supreme 
among the wigwams of the land. 




PETER JONES was a worthy pioneer in the 
Indian work, striving for the amelioration of 
the red race, and the glory of his Master. Born at 
the heights of Burlington Bay, his father, an American 
of Welsh extraction, and his mother, the daughter of a 
Mississauga chief, he was trained in all the mysterious 
lore of the lodges, and spoke with greater fluency the 
language of the Indians, than that of the other highly 
favored race. Converted while yet a youth, he began 
to exercise his talents in teaching school and preaching, 
and great was the success crowning his eflbrts in lead- 
ing men to follow Christ. His soul burned with 
enthusiasm to tell the depraved dwellers in the wig- 
wams of light and life through the wondrous revela- 
tion given to man. He travelled over the province 
and beyond, organizing camp-meetings, preaching to 
the Indians in the deep recesses of the forest or in the 
woods that skirt the lakes. The Indians flocked to 
hear him in large numbers, and the poor benighted 
pagan sot forsook his cup and dance, rejoicing in salva- 
tion through the atoning sacrifice of Christ. 


A request came from an earnest young man who had 
located among the Muncey Indians, teaching their 
children, that Peter Jones would pay a visit to these 
people. This young man, John Carey, had witnessed 
the degraded condition of these Delaware Indians, and 
went amongst them to lead them in the path of truth 
and peace. Many years before this time the ancestors 
of this people had listened to the preaching of David 
Brainerd, and when persecuted they had sought a 
refuge in Canada. Jones and his companions made 
two visits to the Indian camps, and were gratified at 
seeing success. 

In 1825, the first report of the Methodist Missionary 
Society was issued, which dealt with the work and 
its needs. Missionary labor was confined to the 
needy white settlers and the Indian tribes. Deep in- 
terest had been taken in the Six Nations and Ojib- 
way Indians, and the report deals principally with 
the native religious ideas and customs, and the origin, 
progress and successes of the missions. 

Many souls had been won for the Master, and the 
power of the new ideas had been witnessed in the 
birth of a true and ennobling civilization. Christianity, 
preceding civilization, had produced it. And so soon 
as the impulse of a new afiTection had been felt, the 
people asked for schools and teachers that their chil- 
dren might be educated, and sternly opposed vice, 
drunkenness, and superstition in all its forma». 


These were the ever-recurring effects of Christianity 
among the Indians on the reservations, and stronger 
proofs than these were not needed to convince the 
red men of the genuineness and blessedness of the 
Christian religion. Better clothing and consequent 
self-respect, neater and more comfortable buildings, 
kindlier treatment of the young and the women in 
the camps, and the absence of war between the tribes 
were some of the fruits of the seed sown. 

Dr. A. Hill, an educated Mohawk chief, translated 
the four Gospels into the Mohawk tongue, and an 
intelligent young lady, daughter of one of the chiefs, 
the Acts of the Apostles. 

In February, 1826, William Case and Peter Jones 
went on a missionary tour to the Bay of Quinte 
Indians, and held a meeting in Belleville attended by 
white people and Indians. The morning service was 
well attended, and in the evening Jones discoursed to 
a large concourse of Indians on " The Two Ways." 
Two Indians unable to get inside the church in the 
morning sat outside, but found in the evening a place 
with the worshippers. The arrow of conviction pierced 
their hearts, but peace came not to their minds until 
in May following they heard again the truth, and were 
raised from depths of degradation to rejoice in purity 
and dignity of character and life. 

Shawundais, better known amongst the white 


people as John Sunday, after having learned to read 
and write, narrated the circumstance described, when 
he and Moses listaned intensely to the discourse of 
Peter Jones. John Sunday became a zealous mission- 
ary to his own people, and by his quaint methods of 

speech and forcible manner of expressing himself, he 
was able to lead many to the Saviour's side. Dark 
and benighted child of the woods, nursed in the lap of 
superstition, haunted by the spirits of the rapids, rocks 
and trees, debauched by immoral white men, or taunted 


by his own people, he found at last life, and in that 
life there came blessed toil which brought salvation 
for his body and intellect. 

Sunday and Jones together toiled and rejoiced in 
the frnit of their labors. 

A great camp-meeting was held at Adolphostown, 
where nearly one hundred Indians professed conver- 

Sunday and several other Indian exhorters were 
there, telling in accents of new-found love the story 
of the Calvary Cross. It was a wonderful story and 
a strange meeting. The Indians knew only one tune 
and a single hymn, but that one the song of mission- 
ary lands. 

*' Oh for a thousand tongues to sing 
My great Redeemer's praise." 

Over and over again they sang it, with increased fer- 
vor and hope, until souls were ushered into the king- 
dom by the power of the Gospel in song. 

The Conference of 1826 was held on the Cobourg 
Circuit, presided over by Bishop George, and blessed 
with the presence of Dr. Bangs. The Indians flocked to 
the Conference to hear greater things concerning God's 
love to man ; but anxious to receive all the blessings 
possible for them to enjoy, they held a camp-meeting 
at Cramahe a few days before the opening of the 
Conference. Ministers and laymen were there, and 


as the songs of Zion ascended to heaven, sung in the 
English and Ojibway languages, the power of God 
fell upon the hearts of the people, and twenty of the 
pagan Indians professed to have received the pardon 
of sin. During the Conference the Indians pitched 
their camp in the vicinity of the church where the 
ministers were assembled, anxious to learn more of 
God's will. The report of God's doings among the 
red men spread among the Indian camps scattered 
throughout the forests, and some of them came to see 
and hear. A band of Indians from Bice Lake, accom- 
panied by their chief was present, and when Dr. 
Bangs addressed the Indians in the camp, they all 
listened with intense earnestness. The Doctor asked 
the chief, through an interpreter, why he had come to 
the meetings and with the gravity and dignity of an 
Indian chief, he replied, " I heard, while in the forest, 
of the great work going on among my people ; and 
I came down to see and hear and examine for myself." 
" Are you convinced of the evil of your former 
habits ? " " Yes.*' " How did you feel when convinced 
of your sinfulness ? '* Putting his hand to his heart, 
he said, "I felt very sick here, I now feel well — 

This was the beginning of the work among the 
Bice Lake Indians, and the evidences of the genuineness 
of the change that had taken place was seen in the 


rejection of intoxicating drinks, and the new life of 
sobriety, cleanliness and joy that had come to the 

The influence of the Gospel upon the Indians was 
remarkable, and the white people were not slow to 
notice this, whilst some of them were desirous of giving 
encouragement to the red men to continue in the way 
of truth. 

At a missionary meeting held at Demorestville, at- 
tended by the Indians, a Mississauga youth, named 
Jacob Peter, eighteen years of age, was requested to 
address the white people present in the English 
language, which he did in a forcible manner, as follows: 
" You white people have the Gospel great many 
years. You have the Bible, too; suppose you read 
it sometimes — but you very wicked. Suppose some 
very good people ; you get drunk ; you tell lies ; you 
break the Sabbath." Pointing to the Indians present, 
he continued, *' But these Indians, they hear the Word 
only a little while ; they can't read the Bible ; but 
they become good right away. They no more get 
drunk, no more tell lies, they keep the Sabbath day. 
To us Indians, seems very strange that you have 
missionary so many years, and you so many rogues yet. 
The Indians have missionary only little while, and we 
all turn Christian/' 

Jqucs^ Sunday and Case were in labors abundant 


among the red men, and not contented with visiting 
the Indians, they attended missionary meetings, telling 
the people of the wonderful works of grace. 

At the ninth anniversary of the Methodist Episcopal 
Missionary Society, held in New York, Case and 
Sunday were present, and addressed the large congre- 
gation. Peter Jacobs, an Indian youth, was present, 
and after reading the parable of the lost sheep, in 
English and Ojibway, with such pathos as visibly 
affected the people, he gave an account of his conver- 
sion. Dr. Bangs spoke to Sunday, having Peter 
Jacobs as interpreter, and then in the name of the 
congregation gave him the right hand of Christian 
fellowship, expressing the hope that they would all 
meet in heaven. 

When Sunday heard the words of the Christian 
minister, as interpreted by Jacobs, the tears coursed 
down his cheeks, and he sobbed aloud, many in the 
audience weeping with him, as he said in response to 
their prayers, " Amen ! Amen !" When Case and 
Sunday related to the Indians on the reserves what 
they had seen and heard, they were filled with aston- 
ishment. Sunday was somewhat doubtful as to the 
religion of some of the people, and felt deeply anxious 
for their souls' welfare. He said to the Indians in the 
course of his address, " When I look on their fine 
bouses and other riches and great conveniences, I have 


feared that the hearts of Christians here are not pre- 
pared to leave it. But when I hear them pray, and 
see their concern for the poor, the children and the 
Indians, I must think them good Christians, and hope 
to meet them in heaven." The work spread among 
the Indians at Lake Simcoe, some of the Mohawks at 
Tyendinaga accepted the Gospel and were blessed, 
and many triumphant deaths were witnessed in the 

Polly Ryckman, of the Grand River Mission, died 
with a smile upon her countenance saying, " I feel that 
Jesus is round about my bed all the time, and I know 
the Great Spirit will receive me in to heaven. I am not 
afraid to die. Oh ! how merciful, how glorious is the 
Great Spirit ! My heart is full of joy. Oh ! that all 
my brothers and sisters might be faithful in serving 
Kezha Munedoo!" The wife of Peter Jacobs died 
trusting in God, and John Cameron — Wageezhegomes, 
the possessor of day — passed to the land beyond the 
river, rejoicing in Christ. He had been a wayward 
youth, cared for by an Indian trader and living a wild, 
reckless life until his conversion, when he became a 
useful man among his people, utilizing his knowledge 
of the English language for their benefit. Four years 
only he lived after giving his heart to God, but they 
were years of usefulness. During his last sickness he 
said, ** I thank the Lord that I have lived to see all 


my people serve the Great Spirit. For many years 
past I have again and again wished the good white 
Christian might come and plant the Christian religion 
among us, and teach us the right way we should go. 
But no one cared for our souls, until the Lord Himself 
raised up one of our own people to tell us what we 
must do to be saved : and now I can depart in peace, 
and go to our Great Father in heaven." 

In the early years of Indian mission work the best 
men were chosen as missionaries, amongst whom we 
need only mention Egerton Ryerson, afterward city 
minister, college president and Superintendent of 
Education for Upper Canada, whose monument stands 
in front of the Normal School, Toronto, but whose 
enduring memorial is the educational system of On- 
tario. The native laborers went from camp to camp, 
telling the story of redeeming love. Far and wide the 
news spread of the advent of the Man of Nazareth, and 
on bended knee the painted warrior knelt, owning 
allegiance to the Christ. Portions of the Scriptures 
were translated into the Mohawk and Ojibway lan- 
guages, and several hymns were arranged to be sung 
by the Indians in public worship and at home. 

The camps no longer. resounded with the war-whoop 
or savage yell of the debauched Indian, but from 
the wigwams the songs of Christian worship arose on 
the evening air, significant token of peace, purity and 
divine love. 



TWELVE miles north of Cobourg lies an inland 
lake, whose waters are received from the 
northern lakes through the Otonabee river, and are 
then emptied by the rapid Trent into the Bay of 
Quinte. Large quantities of wild rice grow in the lake, 
furnishing food for wild fowl and Indians, and from 
the existence of this grain, the sheet of water is called 
Rice Lake. In the year eighteen hundred and twenty- 
six. a band of Ojibway Indians, under Chief Patosh, 
lived in the woods skirting the lake, and these people 
were known as the Rice Lake Indians. There were 
other bands related to these dwelling at lakes Mud 
and Scugog, and known respectively as the Mud Lake 
and Lake Scugog Indians. Members of these bands 
visited Peterborough and Port Hope to barter their 
furs with the Indian traders, who were sometimes men 
of good education but immoral and greedy of gain. 
Visits made to these trading posts resulted in debauch- 
ery, poverty and crime. Liquor was sold to the 
Indians, and the furs were then bought at a reduced 
price. When the missionaries began their work among 



the red men there arose an antagonism between them 
and the traders, as no longer were the drunken natives 
cheated; but when sobriety, peace and industry 
dwelt in the camps, the full value for the furs was 
demanded, and articles of usefulness sought in exchange. 
When the Conference was held near Hull's Comers, 
about three miles north of Cobourg, an invitation had 
been sent to the pagan Indians of Bice Lake to attend 
the Cramahe camp-meeting and the religious services 
of the Conference. Chief Catosh and a large number 
of his Indians were present, most of them being led to 
Christ during the meeting. The Chief, in broken 
English, expressed his joy by saying. "Oh! Hoi Me 
never think meeting feel so good ! " The Mud Lake 
and Lake Scugog Indians were brought to Gtod through 
the instrumentality of Peter Jones and his fellow- 
workers. The Rice Lake Indians were visited occasion- 
ally by Peter Jones, and so great was the Christian 
joy of the people, that they shouted, wept and prayed. 
The traders acknowledged that they were sober, 
honest, cleanly and industrious as the result of the 
Gospel. They commenced farming under the guidance 
of the missionary, and built a brush church in which 
to hold public worship. The days were spent in farm- 
ing, and the evening in worshipping God in the brush 
church. Before leaving in the autumn for their hunt- 
ing expedition, they requested the missionary to 


organize a school, and they left behind thera the 
women and children, so that they might have the 
benefits of education. A school-house was erected in 
the winter of 1827, and H. Biggar engaged as teacher. 
On the south shore of the lake stood the school and 
church, where sixty children were taught by the 
teacher and boarded by their parents. When the 
Indians returned from the winter hunt, meetings were 
held which were seasons of joy, and eighty-five of the 
natives partook of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, 
while ninety-six church members were returned at the 
Conference of 1828. 

The Bice Lake school was the eighth Indian school 
in operation under the Methodist Missionary Society, 
and so deeply attached were the Indian women to 
their children and so anxious for education to be given 
them, that they went to the villages every few days to 
sell baskets and other articles of their own manufac- 
ture, that they might be able to procure food. Hin- 
drances arose toward the final victory of the Gospel 
among the people, by visits from members of other 
tribes who came to "make medicine," gamble and 
indulge in native feasts and sacrifices, and from the 
vanity and childish spirit manifested by some of the 
people who spent their earnings in gaudy dresses, 
trinkets and unnecessary luxuries. 

The school was taught by Miss Ashe, and then by 


Miss Barnes, who came from the United States to 
engage in missionary work, and finally became the 
second wife of the Rev. William Case. 

By the help of the native class leaders and local 
preachers, among whom were Peter Rice Lake, and 
Allan and J. Crow, the work of grace was efficiently 
carried on among the band. 

In the autumn of 1828, James Evans was engaged 
to teach the Indian school at Rice Lake. Two years 
previously he and his devoted wife had experienced 
the favor of God at the Augusta camp-meeting, and> 
still rejoicing in divine love, and blessed with an ex- 
cellent education, the keen eye of William Case saw 
the stuff the man was made of, and recognized the 
saintliness of the woman. As a teacher he displayed 
those qualities of mind and heart which fitted him in 
an eminent degree for the position of a missionary to 
the red men. He began the study of the Ojibway 
language, and rapidly gained a knowledge of its prin- 
ciples and grammatical construction, which enabled 
him in a short time to address the Indians in their 
own tongue. He grappled so successfully with the 
intricacies of the language, that he began to translate 
portions of the Scriptures and hymns for the use of 
the tribes speaking the Ojibway form of speech. He 
was ever cheerful in the most trying circumstances, 
and was able to become master of every difficulty. A 


friend visiting the mission found the teacher and his 
family possessed of a small quantity of flour, the only 
kind of food in the house. Mixing it with some fish 
spawn, they made pancakes of it, and partook heartily 
of the best they had. Poverty and hardship were 
accepted complacently as part of the missionary's lot. 
Daunted not by the greatest obstacles, victory was 
sure to follow. The man was so thoroughly imbued 
with the spirit of his Master, aroused by a holy en- 
thusiasm for souls, determined to succeed and able to 
engage in any kind of manual labor, that everything 
he touched seemed to prosper. 

William Case visited the United States in the inter- 
ests of his Indian missions, and was successful in obtain- 
ing funds to print there translations of portions of the 
New Testament in Mohawk and Ojibway, made by 
Peter Jones ; and during this period, James Evans was 
busily employed in his school, helping the Indians in 
manual labor, and studying the language. For one 
year and a half he toiled hard among the members of 
the Bice Lake band, and assisted the Bev. D. McMillan, 
who was minister of the Cavan and Rice Lake 

At the Conference of 1830, which began its sessions 
in Kingston on August 17th, James Evans was re- 
ceived on probation for the ministry. This Confer- 
ence adjourned on the 24th to meet at Belleville, as 


the General Conference was to meet there> but the 
stations were read at Kingston. This Conference is 
worthy of remembrance, for the chief subject of its 
deliberations was the instituting of a seminary of 
learning for the Methodists and the general public of 
the Province, which resulted finally in the establish- 
ment of Upper Canada Academy, known latterly as 
Victoria University. Our probationer had given him 
as his work the Bice Lake and Mud Lake bands of 
Indians, which he managed efBciently, but towards 
the end of the year he had to superintend the Cavan 
Circuit, with its seventeen appointments, and was thus 
heavily burdened with work. Peter Jones was ap- 
pointed by the Conference General Missionary to the 
Indian tribes, and in this capacity he visited the Rice 
Lake Mission, when he and the missionary there went 
on a visit to the Mud Lake Indians, noting progress in 
farming, education and piety. 

William Case manifested great interest in the work 
of translating the Scriptures, in which he was heartily 
supported by Jones and Evans. Jones, Evans and 
Thomas Hurlburt were the men who laid the founda- 
tion of Indian linguistic study, and great success fol- 
lowed their first attempt at translating God's truth. 
James Evans translated eighteen chapters of Genesis 
and twenty Psalms, besides preparing a vocabulary of 
the Ojibway language, which were given to Peter Jones 


for correction, and to serve as a guide for other transla- 
tions. The missionaries believed that by help of these 
translations much good would be done toward equip- 
ping the missionary workers, besides spreading the 
truth among the Indians. William Case, in writing 
to Peter Jones, who was in England, becomes enthusi- 
astic over the work of the Indian missionaries : " Our 
field of labor is very extensive, extending from Lower 
Canada to Lake Huron and Mackinaw, an extent of 
not less than eight hundred miles, embracing ten bodies 
or tribes of Indians, including sixteen schools, four 
hundred and twenty children, employing eight white 
and nine native missionaries. All praise to the Great 
Shepherd ! Five of these bodies — Grape Island, Rice 
Lake, Simcoe, Sah-geensr, River Credit — have all em- 
braced Christianity, have all become a praying people. 
The work is now going on for the conversion of four 
of the other bodies out of the five, namely. Bay of 
Quinte, Grand River, Munceytown, and Mackinaw. 
All of the missions, as far as we hear, are progressing. 
I should also have mentioned that six persons are 
engaged in the translation of the Scriptures into the 
Iroquois and Chippawa language. When those 
Scriptures are translated and printed, and when the 
four hundred Indian children shall be reading to their 
parents and friends, and when ten and even twenty 
native missionaries shall be travelling from tribe to 


tribe through the forests, enforcing the Divine Word 
among thirty thousand wandering natives of our 
wilderness, and when God shall add His blessing for 
the conversion of these, as He has done in the conver- 
sion already of eighteen hundred, what may we not 
expect but the fulfilment of prophecy, *' The wilderness 
and the solitary place shall be made glad for them, 
and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose ? "* 
Part of another letter to Peter Jones, on the same 
important subject of translations, reveals Mr. Case's 
views on this special department of Indian missionary 
work : " There is no part of the missionary work to 
which your attention can now be directed more im- 
portant than that of translating the Scriptures for the 
use of our Indian brethren, hundreds of whom can 
now read, and are desirous of learning more perfectly 
the way of the Lord ; and it is a matter of gratifica- 
tion that you are at length relieved from the labors 
and joumeyings which have, in a degree, interrupted 
this important work. The Gospels of Matthew and 
John are now being distributed to the Indians, and 
may be studied while other important portions are 
preparing for their use. I am of opinion that the 
other two Gospels and the Epistles should be deferred 
for a while, and that we should labor to complete the 
book of Genesis, which has for some time been under 

* " Case and his Contemporaries." 


consideration. The reasons which influence this 
opinion, are: 1. That the two Gospels, now in the 
hands of the Indians, are enough for the present, till 
they shall have read and studied them, when they will 
be better prepared to commence the reading of other 
portions of the New Testament. 2. That Dr. James, 
of Ste. Marie, we understand, has gone through the 
whole New Testament in the Chippawa, and that the 
work is being published. Till we know the merits of 
that work we had better defer further translations of 
the New Testament. It may answer every purpose 
without further expense, at least for the pre^nt. 3. 
The knowledge of the great works of creation, and first 
transactions of man, which are found in Genesis, are 
scarcely less valuable to remove pagan superstitions 
and give a right direction to the faith of the Indian 
converts. Wishing to put into th& hands of the 
Indians the nine first chapters of the book of Genesis, if 
one thousand copies be printed, a few hundred of which 
— say, two hundred and fifty — might be soon done 
up for the use of the schools, etc., and the remainder 
remain till the rest shall be printed, and then all done 
up together. It will be printed on opposite pages with 
the English." 

The Gospel spread rapidly among the tribes, so that 
the red men of the forest sat at the feet of Jesus, 
clothed and in their right mind. There were many 



promising young mea led to Christ in the Indian camp 
who became deeply concerned for their companiona 
and friends. 

On the Grape Island Mission a younfi; people's 
prayer-meeting was held regularly every Monday 

At one of these meetings, John Kennedy — Shippegah 
— aged fourteen years, prayed fervently for bis com- 
rades : " Kezbe Mtinedo ! Sha-wa nim ope no gee 
uck a-ah-chick Mah-quayah-quah a-ah-ze-kook, mnz- 
ee-nee-ah-gun-nun kia meenzheke-he-noo-mah-te-win. 
Che -ah -kin-moo- wad t, muz-ee-ah-gun-nuo." "0 great 


good Spirit, blesa the children in the woods who have 
□0 books, and give them Bcfaoola that tbej' may leant 
to read !" 

Thus not only the adult population, but the children, 
heard with J07 the words of life. Had many of these 
bright lads been sent to college, we should have had 
teachers and native missionaries well qualified for the 
work, and in sufficient numbers to supply all the 
demands of their tribes. 

The enterprising and catholic-^irited Evans rejoiced 
in such manifestations of good, and ever eager for 
greater success, employed every legitimate agency for 
leading men and women to Qod. Burning with zeal ' 
for the souls of men, he studied the language, taught 
the children, toiled in the fields with the men, trans- 
lated, preached, prayed and lived near to Qod. 



THE first Methodist Indian mission in Canada 
was begun amongst the Mohawks at Grand 
River in 1822. Peter Jones was converted at the 
Ancaster camp-meeting in 1823, and the Mississauga 
Indians, living around Belleville, received the Gospel 
in 1826. The most successful of all the Indian mis- 
sions of this early period was the Credit Mission, 
arising from the constant supervision of William Case, 
and the able men who assisted him. This was the 
home of Peter Jones, who travelled extensively among 
the tribes scattered throughout the Province, preach- 
ing to them and directing them in all affairs relating 
to their political, social and agricultural life. His 
translations were carried on at home, where he re- 
ceived the assistance of Indians. Egerton Ryerson 
was for a time missionary at the Credit, sent there 
through the influence of William Case, who believed 
that he would be instrumental in preparing a grammar 
and dictionary of the Ojibway language, and in trans- 
lating the Scriptures, thus removing serious difficul- 
ties out of the way of others. Young Ryerson toiled 


with the Indians in the field, preached and prayed, 
and built a church with funds which he raised him- 
self. His brother George was missionary at the 
Credit in after years, and Edwy Ryerson followed as 
teacher of the Indian school. James Evans spent one 
year among the Indians at the Credit. The Govern- 
ment had advised the Mississaugas to leave the Grand 
River and repair to the Credit, promising to build a 
village for the Indians at that place. The people went 
there, spending the summer at the Credit hunting and 
fishing, and the winter at Grand River. A brush 
chapel was erected by the Indians, and school began 
with forty children. The Government erected twenty 
hewed log houses, and Egerton Ryerson toiled earn- 
estly among them. In 1825, the Parliament being 
assembled at Toronto (York), about twenty of the 
school children were taken to the embryo city, and 
appeared in public in the Methodist church. The 
speaker of the assembly occupied the chair, and after 
the children had sung some hymns in English and 
Indian, recited the Ten Commandments, read portions 
of the Scriptures, and exhibited specimens of writing 
and sewing, several of the members of Parliament 
gave addresses of approval. The following day they 
went on invitation of Lady Maitland to Government 
House, and were examined before the Governor, who 
was well pleased with the improvement made in their 
studies, and gave presents to the children. 


A few days afterward Governor Maitland and party 
paid a visit to the Credit, visiting the homes of the 
Indians, and the schools, and expressed himself as 
delighted with the signs of progress, industry and 
peace. James Evans was sent by the Conference of 
1831 as missionary to the Credit. Here were dis- 
played his talents in translating portions of the 
Scriptures and hymns ; and with ever-increasing en- 
thusiasm he continued his studies in the construction 
of the language of the people among whom he labored. 
He toiled with the people in the fields, superintending 
their farms, directed the educational work of the 
mission, went in and out of the homes of the natives, 
telling them in their own tongue the wonderful things 
of God. Deeply sympathetic, he sought to comfort 
the lonely moiirner, and lead gently, with sweet, per- 
suasive words, to the cross of Christ. Energetic and 
enterprising as he was, he could not rest contented 
while he witnessed the white population, living in the 
vicinity of the Indian reservation, without a know- 
ledge of Christ. The time that he could spare from 
the Indian work was given to the white settlers, and 
he enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing some brought 
into the way of life. His translations increased, and 
were more accurate. Souls were saved, and the people 
were happy and prosperous. At the Conference of 
1832, he was sent to take charge of the Ancaster 


Mission, which included the embryo city of Hamilton, 
and there he displayed superior abilities as a preacher, 
administ^'ator and pastor. His colleague was Edwy 
M. Ryerson, and their united labors were blessed with 
a gracious outpouring of God's Spirit, insomuch that 
several hundred persons were converted to God. 
Amongst these were Edward and Lydia Jackson, so 
prominent afterwards in Canadian Methodist history, 
and especially remembered in the city of Hamilton, 
and in connection with Victoria University, Cobourg. 
Faithful to the souls he had won for Christ, James 
Evans confronted fearlessly any form of doctrine that 
would injure what he had done. Boldly and success- 
fully he opposed Elijah Warren, who had imbibed the 
principles of XJniversalism, and was teaching them to 
the people. 

In the year following, the Conference stationed this 
intrepid servant of God at St. Catharines, with John 
Baxter as his colleague, and the work done there 
sufficiently attested the fact that when able men were 
needed for important positions they could find one in 
the devoted and versatile preacher of St. Catharines. 
He stood well with his ministerial brethren, because 
of his sterling worth, for he was oftentimes compelled, 
in the stirring times in which he lived, to oppose his 
best friends. Friendship was nothing to principle; 

and though he dearly loved his friends, he loved the 


truth more. Those were stirring times for the Metho- 
dist Church, ajid in all her concerns he was ever in the 
front to defend her interests when they were on the 
aide of truth. 

At the Conference of 1833, before being sent to St 
Catharines, he was ordained, and from that moment, 


more fully than ever, did he enter into the work to 
which he had devoted his life. 

This was to be his last year in the white work, for 
God and man had designated him for pioneer work 
among the aborigines of Canada ; and tbe events that 
followed justified the men in studying God's provi^ 
dence and becoming suljmisstve thereto, 



ON the present site of Sarnia, and at several 
points along the River St. Clair, were located 
bands of Ojibway Indians who had not accepted the 
Gospel of Christ. The Lieutenant-Governor had insti- 
tuted measures for assisting these people, but owing 
to their nomadic habits, the adjacent residence of 
white men, whose influence was for evil, and the 
degraded lives which they had spent, they failed to 
elevate them. The Colonial Government then called 
upon the Wesleyan Missionary authorities of England 
to undertake missionary work amongst them, and the 
parent body felt in duty bound to extend its opera- 
tions to the red men of Canada. In accordance with 
this determimation, and the invitation of the Canadian 
Government, the work was inaugurated by sending 
the Rev. Thomas Turner to begin his labors among 
the St. Clair Indians. He entered heartily upon his 
field in 1832, and encountered customs and beliefs, 
superstitions and errors, antagonistic to his work, and 
not understood by the white race. The missionary 
fquml ^ ]iin4 of life that was strange, full of hardship, 



and distasteful. Unacquainted with Indian life and 
the severe toils of the early settlers, surrounded by- 
influences opposed to the truth, peace and purity of 
the Christian religion, and with few to give him en- 
couragement in his arduous work, he found the diffi- 
culties so numerous and heavy that there came not 
the success he desired and prayed for. This was to be 
expected from the debauched condition of the Indians, 
and the immoral example set before them by the In- 
dian traders. In 1834 James Evans was sent to pro- 
secute his missionary work on the field where Mr. 
Turner had failed, and possessed of those peculiar 
traits of character which revealed the man's ability to 
adapt himself to all kinds of men and every variety 
of life, great things were looked for on his new mis- 
sion. The friends of missions had not long to wait, as 
he entered upon his work with his accustomed energy. 
Preaching, translating, teaching school, building houses, 
and directing young and old in all affairs temporal 
and spiritual. The Indians caught the enthusiasm of 
the devoted missionary, and were ready to follow 
where he led. They forsook the haunts of the 
white men and resorted to nobler ways of living, 
encouraged by the sympathies of their leader and the 
evidences of prosperity in the homes of their fellows 
The news of the adjacent bands and tribes receiving 
the Gospel reached their ears, and proved an incen- 

ST. CLAIR. 85 

tive to industry, purity and faithfulness in the ^ood 
cause. David Sawyer, an Indian teacher and inter- 
preter, toiling amongst the Indians at Muncey Town, 
relates a circumstance that must have produced bene- 
ficial efiects upon the other Indians. He says : " Our 
principal labours are in Upper and Lower Muncey. We 
have had three deaths of late. Two were remarkable, 
their contrast was so great. The persons were High- 
flyer and Necaunaby. The former, being tempted by 
the rum-seller, drank to that degree that the alcoholic 
principle extinguished the vital spark. The scene 
was appalling beyond the power of language to de- 
scribe. I am told that his seducer is a believer that 
all will be saved. Does he believe that he sent this 
man's soul to heaven in the midst of his days ? The 
latter is among some of the first ripe fruits of the 
humble missionary's labors. His complaint was con- 
sumption, to which they are alarmingly subject. We 
visited him during the days of his rapid decline. 
It was truly affecting to see him lift his emaciated 
hands towards heaven, and pour out his soul to his 
Heavenly Father in strains of eloquence sufficient to 
convince us, at least, that .the Spirit helped his infirmi- 
ties. His prayers rose on the wings of faith ; the pre- 
cious name of Jesus faltered on his tongue to the last, 
while the big tears rolled down his face; and even 
when his eyes had ceased to weep, a little before he 


died, he told the people who were present, " I am very 
poor ; yes, I am very sick ; but I shall be very rich in 
heaven, when I get home. I am very happy." He 
would sometimes say, "O Jesus! O Jesus!" Just a 
short time before he died, he gave a little exhortation 
to those present. " Now my brothers and sisters," he 
said, " I am going to leave you very soon. The angels 
told me that I must come in about an hour ; I see the 
angels around me waiting in that house." And he 
would tell his brethren, " The angels are talking to 
me." Being asked what the angels said, he replied, 
" Don't you hear ? They say to me that I shall see 
my child in Ishpeming" (heaven). Again he said, 
" Give me your hands. I shake hands with you all, 
my brothers and sisters, for I am going to leave you 
soon ; you must be faithful." He also told them, " Be 
silent, for I am waiting my departure." Having sf%id 
this, he gently fell asleep in Jesus' arms, without a 
sigh or a groan, to wake again at the last trump ; " for 
the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised." 
Then Highflyer and the rum-seller must meet, as well 
as the missionary and Necaunaby." 

Success in the conversion of the red men followed 
the labors of James Evans among the St. Clair Indians. 
The Rev. Dr. Evans, now residing in London, Ontario, 
referring to his brother's success on the St. Clair 
Mission at this period, says: " A sweeping tide of con- 

ST. CLAIR. 87 

verting power changed the entire character of the 
tribe, and greatly stimulated him to a critical study 
of the language, and to the translation of portions of 
the Holy Scriptures, and a publication of the transla- 
tion of many of the Methodist hymns. To this day 
his name is as ointment poured forth in the memories 
of the few aged persons still remaining, who, through 
his instrumentality, were rescued from the chains and 
bondage of paganism, and translated into the kingdom 
of His dear Son." 

By pen and voice the faithful toiler sought to enlist 
the sympathies of Christian people on behalf of his 
work among the Indians, and succeeded in a great 
measure in arousing a deep interest in the cause of the 
red man. 


The following sketch of an Ojibway Indian named 
Oozhushkah, and the two subsequent letters written 
by James Evans, will be read with pleasure by all 
students of missions and friends of the red man, and 
especially by all who wish to learn more of the faith- 
ful apostle who toiled at Sarnia, striving to direct to 
God and truth : 

"Oozhushkah, a native Indian of the Chippewa tribe 
now resides at Mackinaw. He was once one of the 
lowest and most abandoned of that profligate class of 
Indians, who have measurably forsaken their native 
wilds, and linger about the settlements of the whites. 


His stature is small, his frame worn down with age 
and debilitated by former dissipation presents a 
strange ghastliness of appearance, which strikes the 
beholder with involuntary awe, and, to a superstitious 
mind, almost excites the belief that Oozhushkah is a 
deserter from the land of departed spirits. But how- 
ever fearful and suspicious the character of Oozhushkah 
may have once been, those acquainted with his present 
character do not now fear him ; for his spirit, formerly 
wild and untamable, is at present the home of gentle- 
ness and meekness ; once dark and intriguing, is now 
honest and guileless. It is his former character that 
has imprinted upon him his fearful physiognomy, for 
the spirit of Christianity has touched his heart and 
subdued his native ferocity; and instead of joining his 
companions in the brutal and destroying revels of 
drunkenness, his chief delight is in offering up his 
hearty orisons to the God of his salvation. 

"It is well known to those familiar with Indian 
history that they have among them a certain class of 
persons called prophets, or conjurors, who profess to 
foretell future events by a direct conference with the 
Great Spirit. These are supposed to possess a decided 
superiority over other men, having a guardian deity 
acquainted at all times with their danger, ready and 
able to communicate to them a knowledge of it, and 
to deliver tliem from it. In consequence of this preva- 
lent opinion, those who have been at any time most 
celebrated among the Indians, and who have gained a 
proud pre-eminence over their people, either in the 
character of statesmen or warriors, have always 

ST. CLAIR. 89 

assumed the reputation of prophets ; and even at this 
day the young men of the northern tribes cannot be 
induced to follow any leader in war, unless he is sup- 
posed to have more or less communication with the 
Great Spirit. Some of these professed prophets are 
the most abandoned of the Indians, and, while they are 
hated for their vices, are viewed with fear and drea^d 
for the unconquerable power they are supposed to 
possess. Such was once Oozhushkah. His name stood 
unrivalled as a prophet, and he was considered invin- 
cible as a warrior. If he treated the proudest of the 
unbending savages with indignity and disdain, they 
feared to retaliate ; for death in strange and unheard- 
of shapes, sometimes by slow, and sometimes by rapid 
poison, seized the enemies of Oozhushkah. His eye 
seemed never to slumber, and every art to ensnare or 
surprise him failed. In short, he appeared as secure 
as he was terrible. A strange mysteriousness enveloped 
him ; and tradition says, that though he was one of the 
smallest and most meagre of the Indians, he was 
once weighed by a trader, and to the astonishment of 
of all, weighed upwards of three hundred pounds. 
Oozhushkah had, for a number of the last years, hung 
about the trading house of Mackinaw, and was well 
known as one of the most abandoned and drunken of his 
race. The missionaries stationed at that post had often 
faithfully tried to instruct him in the knowledge of 
that God who made, preserved and redeemed him ; but 
Oozhushkah had always responded to their instructions 
with the most supercilious contempt, and their lessons 
were apparently " pearls cast before swine." But they 


were not lost. They were securely lodged in the 
retentive memory of Oozhushkah. He narrated them 
to his wife, who was as drunken as himself ; but when 
sober these lessons formed a fruitful theme of conversa- 
tion. Again and again they were repeated at evening 
in his tent, and opposed with all the virulence which 
the natural heart is wont to raise up against truth 
intended to correct, control, and reform it. But it 
appears Heaven did not leave them to their desper- 

"In the winter, as usual, Oozhushkah chose his hunt- 
ing ground some forty or fifty miles from Mackinaw ; 
here, with no human companion but his aged squaw, 
he pitched his lonely tent, deep in the recesses of the 
forest. Here, the inebriating draught, the drunken 
Indian's god, was beyond their reach, they had time 
for reflection and converse. They had not long occupied 
their lonely quarters when Mekagase, the squaw, was 
taken violently ill. 

" Oozhushkah 's conjuring songs and Indian medicines 
could not cure her. From day to day she only grew 
worse. Neither she nor Oozhushkah expected her 
recovery ; but during this illness Mekagase retained 
her senses. The truth of heaven which she had heard 
dwelt upon her mind — her own understanding told 
her she was a wretch, a sinner; that she had all her life- 
time persisted in doing knowingly and wilfully wrong. 
Death stared her in the face, and, like other wicked 
mortals, she was afraid to die. Her conscience, corro- 
borating what she had learned from the missionaries, 
convinced her that she was unprepared for death, and 

ST. CLAIR. 91 

that, as a consequence of her wickedness here, she 
might expect misery hereafter. She was afraid to 
meet the Great Spirit against whose laws she had 
offended. Mekagase, trembling on the threshold of 
eternity saw no remedy ; she humbled herself, prayed 
to the Great Spirit in compassion to forgive her, to 
blot out her sins and receive her departing spirit. 
Suddenly, the fears of Mekagase were taken away, 
joy filled her heart, and she felt indescribably more 
happy than when in youth she had joined the Indian 
dance around the evening fires of her tribe. In short, 
if her own simple description of her feelings may be 
relied on, she experienced what the apostle designates 
"joy unspeakable and full of glory." From that hour 
Mekagase s disease abated and her recovery commenced. 
She felt that she was a new creature, and, unlike too 
many enlightened Christians, she did not reason herself 
out of the faith, but taking the simple testimony of 
the Spirit bearing witness with her own, spoke of her 
hopes and her joys to Oozhushkah, with ecstasy and 
confidence; she warned him of his folly, his wickedness 
and his danger with so strong convincing testimony, 
that the heart of Oozhushkah was moved. He praydd 
to the Great Spirit, and the work of grace was deepened. 
The radiance of divine truth beamed on his benighted 
understanding and melted his hardened heart, and in 
ten days from his wife's singular conversion, Oozhus- 
kah could heartily join with her in ofi*ering their 
morning and evening, orisons to the Great Spirit in 
praise of redeeming grace. 

" When the hunting season was over, they returned 

ST. CLAIR. 93 

to Mackinaw, where they lost no time in making 
known to their Christian acquaintances the change 
wrought in their feelings ; and from that day to this, 
they have tested both the verity of their conversion, 
and the salutary influeilce of gospel truth, by * well- 
ordered lives and- godly conversation/ They have 
abandoned the intoxicating liquor, live peaceably with 
each other, and the once malignant Oozhushkah is 
now harmless as a lamb ; and dark, mysterious and 
suspicious as his character was formerly, no one ac- 
quainted with him at present doubts, or can doubt, of 
his conversion." 


"The spot selected by the Indian chiefs and myself 
for the purpose was on the bank of the St. Clair 
River, having a gentle declination toward the water, 
and admirably adapted by nature's God to seat a con- 
gregation in such a manner as to give to all the best 
possible opportunity of seeing and hearing in the 
open air. The Indians were much elated in prospect 
of this meeting ; some of whom, having first tasted 
the joys of salvation at a similar one at Muncey Town, 
and being instructed from Holy Writ that God is 
everywhere present, confided in Him for His promised 
presence on the St. Clair, while several who had never 
enjoyed such a privilege were anxious to taste those 
blessings of which their converted friends often spoke 
with ecstacy. All readily and perseveringly engaged 
in clearing the ground, which we found in a state of 
nature, strewed with the trunks of old trees which 


had once reared their stately heads and bid defiance 
for ages to the howling tempest, but which had at 
length fallen before the unsparing scythe of time. 
These were cut in pieces and drawn off the ground. 
The underbrush or small trees were also cut down 
and formed into a sort of hedge or fence, while the 
large trees were left in all their majestic grandeur, 
towering over our heads, forcibly reminding us, while 
sheltered by their luxuriant foliage, of the promise of 
Him whom we were met to adore, * The sun shall not 
smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.' 

" The pulpit or preacher's stand was erected near 
the centre of the ground. This was formed by driv- 
ing large poles of about twelve or fifteen feet in length 
into the ground, and laying upon them other poles of 
sufficient strength to support the floor and roof. The 
preacher's stand was about twelve feet square, with a 
partition running through the centre ; the front oc- 
cupied by day as a pulpit, where the speaker declared 
the Word of Life, while the other preachers sat behind 
him on a seat prepared for this purpose. The rear of 
the stand was occupied by night as a bedroom. The 
seats for the accommodation of the congregation were 
constructed by splitting large trees into halves or 
quarters, according to their size, and placing these 
pieces in front of the pulpit, raised to a convenient 
height by laying logs beneath them. Of these we 
prepared sufficient to seat about one thousand persons, 
which, although rough in appearance, answered the 
desired purpose, and were occupied with much profit 
during the exercises of the meeting. A tent for th© 

ST. CLAIR. 95 

accommodation of the preachers, and such strangers 
as might attend who could not bring tents for them- 
selves, was prepared of boards ; and we were kindly- 
furnished by the commanding officer at Fort Gratiot, 
on the American side of the river, with a canvas tent 
and fly, which proved an excellent shelter, and accom- 
modated the females, who occupied it as a sleeping 
room. The Indians' tents were made of forked poles 
driven into the ground, and others laid across, sup- 
porting a roof formed of bark, which had been pre- 
viously peeled ofl" the bass-wood and black ash trees, 
in sheets of about eight feet in length, and four or 
five in breadth. Small stakes were driven around and 
interwoven with small branches, the leaves of which 
formed an excellent wall, and excluded all observa- 
tion from without. Some of these tents were twenty 
feet in length, and ten or twelve in breadth ; bark 
was laid on the ground as a floor. In front of each 
tent two forked poles were driven into the ground 
and a pole laid across, to which hooks, made of small 
branches, were suspended, on which kettles were hung 
for the purpose of preparing the victuals, as all the 
provisions were cooked on the ground in the intervals 
of the religious exercises. 

"The day of commencement having arrived, we as- 
sembled on the ground, and the services of the meeting 
were opened with a lively and profitable prayer-meet- 
ing in the tent belonging to the head chief, Wawanosh. 
The grace of supplication was poured out upon our 
brethren, and many ardent petitions ascended the Hill 
gf ^ion for a profitable me^ti^^Jr ^ojf w^ro they ii^ 


vain. The Lord graciously visited us with salvation, 
and the place became glorious by reason of His pre- 
sence. Brother Brockway (from the Ohio Conference) 
and myself preached on Thursday, and several times 
we engaged in prayer-meetings. On Friday we had 
preaching twice ; and just at the close of the second 
sermon our brethren the President of the Conference 
and the General Superintendent of Missions, together 
with two of the members of our Society from Mont- 
real, cheered us by entering the encampment, and 
spent with us the remainder of the season of worship 
in the grove. 

"Many of the Christian Indians from the Muncey vil- 
lage on the River Thames, and some from the Credit 
Mission, this day joined us, and several pagans also 
were within the encampment. The preaching was 
pointed and spiritual, and attended by the divine unc- 
tion. The Gospel plan of salvation was clearly set 
forth before these sons of the forest in all its enchant- 
ing beauty, and the two-edged sword of the Lord 
Jehovah appeared to cut its way to many a heart ; the 
wounded soul fled to the prayer-meeting after each 
sermon, and there, with strong cries and tears, sought 
(and not in vain) for the " balm of Gilead." The 
good Physician was at hand, and poured in the oil and 
the wine— healing and cheering; and the sound of joy 
and gladness resounded throughout the leafy temple. 

"On Sunday evening, as a pagan family were sailing 
down the river in their canoe, their attention was 
drawn to the place of worship by hearing the voices 
of the Indians and seeing the ground lighted by the 

ST. CLAIR. 97 

fires which were kindled on stages covered with earth, 
erected for the purpose. They supposed that it was 
some Indian pagan feast, and were desirous to "join 
the fun," as they expressed themselves, expecting that, 
as usual, a plentiful supply of shkootawahboo, or fire- 
water*, had been provided, and indulging a hope that 
they would be enabled to have a pleasing drunken 
frolic. They landed and walked around the ground 
a few minutes ; and discovering that the Indians were 
happily engaged in singing in diflferent parts of the 
ground, looked on with astonishment, and curiosity 
was awakened to inquire what these things meant ? 
They brought up their cloth tent and erected it near 
the gate leading to the river, at some distance from the 
other camps. Here they sat in surprise to see all the 
people sober. 

"Having come from the south shores of Lake Huron, 
they had never heard the Word of Life ; and when the 
horn sounded from the preacher s stand, they gathered 
with the people and took their seats in the congrega- 
tion. Here they, for the first time, heard the name 
of Jesus. The Gospel proved the power of God. 
Their darkened minds were brought to see the exceed- 
ing sinfulness of sin ; and while their souls groaned 
under the burden thereof, they were pointed to the 
Lamb of God. They sought His face during the 
prayer- meeting, which continued through the night ; 
and before the morning broke forth to dispel its 
gloom, their guilt and darkness fled away before the 
Sun of Righteousness, and the man and his wife were 
made to rejoice in God their Saviour. The two first 



days were very favorable. The weather was fine, 
although the nights were rather cool. After this we 
were drenched in rain by one of the heaviest showers 
I have experienced in this part of the country ; and 
although I had endeavored to use every precaution to 
make our tents water-proof, such was the impetu- 
osity of the torrent, that it poured in streams through 
the roof during the night. The preacher's tent, I had 
flattered myself, would prove a safe retreat for my 
brethren in the ministry, but on lighting a candle as 
the shower abated, and repairing thither, I found they 
were all in a woeful plight. Brother Lord was screwed 
up into a corner, snugly wrapped in a wet blanket, 
while his bed and pillows gave full proof that he was 
on board a leaky vessel. Our brethren Lunn and 
Fisher, from Montreal, had partaken largely of the 
cooling shower, and their appearance forcibly reminded 
me of a device I have somewhere seen, of " Patience 
on a monument smiling at Grief,'* when I saw them 
seated with their garments saturated with water, 
proving the contrast between a rainy camp-meeting in 
the woods, and the snug retreat of a citizen in his 
comfortable mansion in Montreal. The General 
Superintendent of Missions, Bro. Stinson, appeared 
determined to brave it out ; for he lay amidst the 
roaring of thunder and the pouring of the water, 
rolled in the blankets, of which he appeared to have 
collected his full share, and seemed to be muttering in 
his woolly retreat, " Blow, winds, and crack your 
cheeks." On overhauling his blankets to discover his 
true situation, he observed be was wet but warm, and 

ST. CLAIR. 99 

lay still, as though resolved to make the best of it. 
The morning exhibited an amusing scene. One might 
be seen hunting for dry linen, another drying his shirt, 
with a blanket thrown around his shoulders ; sheets, 
blankets, etc., were spread on the bushes, and the 
most unequivocal testimony was given that our tents 
had been everything but water-tight. As I have 
heard no complaints from our brethren, I humbly trust 
they experienced no indisposition from this their camp- 
meeting excursion; and happy should I be to meet 
them again on the same spot, even under the same 

" The following evening presenting threatening indi- 
cations of another shower, and our brethren not 
having entirely divested themselves of those symptoms 
of hydrophobia which succeeded the last night's 
ducking, thankfully accepted of an offer made by an 
American friend — crossed the river and spent the night, 
no doubt much more comfortably than they could 
possibly have done amongst our wet sheets and 
blankets. Thirty-nine tents were erected on the 
ground, two by our brethren from Baldoon, on the 
Thames Circuit, and two from the American side of 
the St. Clair ; the remainder were occupied by Indians. 
About two hundred and fifty Indians were present, 
not one of whom left the ground without tasting that 
the Lord was gracious. A man and his wife, who 
lived some miles down the river, ventured to visit the 
spot. This pagan Indian had sent a message to us 
only a week or two previous to the meeting, saying, 
" I will surely kill you both as soon as I meet with 


you," meaning the missionary and the interpreter ; but 
here the love of God was shed abroad in his heart, and 
he exclaimed, "How great a fool I was to talk of killing 
you, but I did not know that this religion was so good. 
I now love you, and will try to listen to your words 
as long as I live." On Sunday the Holy Sacrament 
was axlministered, and a profitable service it was — a 
time not to be forgotten. Twenty-two were dedicated 
to God in the ordinance of baptism, of whom, I may 
add, " they were all faithful." No case of backsliding 
has occurred as yet in this mission. One hundred and 
forty-three adults, with their children, have been 
baptized since last December, and I expect to administer 
the ordinance to about fifteen next Sunday, God 
willing. I have lately divided the converts into four 
clftsses, and appointed leaders from amongst the first 
who embraced the truth. They appear to do well, 
watch faithfully over their various charges, and 
promise to be useful men in the vineyard of the 

" Our camp -meeting closed as usual by walking in 
procession around the ground, and shaking each other 
by the hand as a token of Christian friendship. This 
is effected by the preachers taking their stand as the 
procession walks around ; and as each person passes, 
he shakes hands, and falls into the line next to the 
last person standing, so that when the last one in the 
procession comes, all on the ground have given each 
other the parting hand. And a solemn time for reflec- 
tion it is ; many part here to meet no more until they 
assemble before the judgment seat of Christ; and 

ST. CLAIR. 101 

many are ready to say, having found true happiness 
during the services : 

*' * My willing soul would stay 
In such a place as this ; 
And sit and sing herself away 
To everlasting bliss.* 

"—J. E." 

The following letter gives some of the results of 
Christian labor amongst the Indians on the River St. 
Clair. It was published in the New York Christian 
Advocate and Journal : 

" St. Clair, June 27th, 1837. 

" From a desire to aid in the extension of the Re- 
deemer's kingdom I venture to give you a little infor- 
mation. * Being stationed by the Canada Conference at 
the St. Clair, I have not considered it beyond the 
sphere of my labors to visit occasionally the pagan In- 
dians on the American side of the St. Clair River and 
Lake Huron ; and I would state, to the glory of God 
and for the encouragement of His people, that many 
appear disposed to embrace Christianity. One open- 
ing I desire, through you, to make known to the Com- 
mittee, of the Missionary Society of the M. E. Church, 
viz., at Sahgeenong — on the map Sagenah — a large 
bay on Lake Huron. 

" Three of the tribe of Indians known by the name 
of Sahgeenong Indians have embraced the truth at St. 
Clair, and remain with us at present, but would gladly 
return should their people become Christians. 


*' I have just returned from visiting the Indians as- 
sembled at Maiden, U.C., where we found about one 
thousand. We spoke to many of them, but the ones 
I have alluded to I consider eus especially worthy of 

"I called on the head chief at his tent, and explained 
to him our intention in coming to Maiden, viz., to tell 
them of the Christian religion. He immediately sum- 
moned the other chiefs, and after counselling less than 
five minutes, they came together in the centre of the 
encampment and told us they would hear us. The 
young men and women stood around while we in- 
formed them of the spread of Christianity among the 
Indians, the improvements made among them, the 
benefits of schools to their children, and preached unto 
them Jesus ; after which the chief arose and spake as 
follows : 

" * I, with the chiefs seated around me, am very glad 
to hear that our Indian people are becoming better 
men. We acknowledge that we are very poor, and 
that the prospects of our children are cut off* by the 
whites settling on our hunting grounds, and we know 
they must know more than their fathers would 
they live by-and-by. We have never before heard 
these words, and perhaps we may never hear them 
again ; but we thank you very sincerely for the 
trouble you have taken in coming to tell us this time. 
We cannot comprehend the words you speak, because 
we know so little about these things, but we think 
your words are very good, and we should be glad to 
hear them again. Perhaps the next time we can 
understand them better/ 

ST. CLAIR. 103 

" The chiefs then came forward and shook us by the 
hand, thanking us for the ' good words/ as they ex- 
pressed it. I told them that I would, if practicable^ 
see them in company with some Christian Indians this 
fall; and^ knowing the desire which animates the 
Church in your country to send the pagans the Word 
of life, I ventured to say, ' I think you will have a 
missionary and school teacher before a great while/ 

"I give you herein a statement of facts which, if 
worthy of notice, will be taken into consideration. I 
most cheerfully and gratefully acknowledge that we, 
in our missionary efforts, have received much aid, ini a 
pecuniary point of view, from our American brethren, 
and doubtless much divine influence in answer to their 
fervent and faithful petitions at the throne of grace ; 
and could I in return in any measure aid in carrying 
into operation any plans, by the Committee adopted, 
for benefitting these Indians by establishing a mission 
or school, I should most gladly embrace an opportu- 
nity of so doing, so far a,s consistent with my appointed 
duties— at all times rejoicing that ' Methodism is one 
all over the world.' A good missionary and inter- 
preter, ready to endure hardship and persevere under 
seeming impossibilities, would, I have no doubt, break 
up the ground, sow seed, and reap a harvest even in 
this hitherto barren waste. May the Lord direct ! 

" Since December we have received 79 into the 
Christian community by baptism, and some now wait 
the administration of this ordinance. These are the 
first-fruits of St. Clair. May the God of missions ex- 
tend His kingdom from the volcanic point to the 

ST. CLAIR. 105 

frozen regions, and in the full breadth of the land, 
until not a smoky wigwam shall want the Word of 
life nor a pagan's heart want the bread of heaven. If 
all pray thus, and all do something, soon will the wil- 
derness bud and blossom as a rose, and this thirsty 
land become pools of water. 

"I am, dear brother, yours in the Gospel of Christ, 

" James Evans." 



JAMES EVANS possessed linguistic talent in an 
eminent degree, which was utilized on his fields 
of labor. Only the student of Indian languages 
can fully appreciate the work that he did, from the 
knowledge of the construction of the^grammars of the 
languages, and the awkward manner in which all 
Europeans begin the study without a teacher. Every 
letter and particle is important, and none more signifi- 
cant than the particles incorporated in the verba, as 
these are generally adverbs, prepositions, nouns and 
pronouns; besides they are inseparable in many in- 
stances, and cannot be dispensed with. The verb is 
the chief object of study in the language, and it is a 
formidable undertaking for the learner. Interpreters 
are hard to obtain sufficiently intelligent to translate 
accurately the ideas inherent in Biblical language. 

By the comparative study of a few of the Indian 
languages, Evans was able to grasp intelligently their 
principles, and in a short time he began preaching in 
the Ojibway tongue, translating portions of the Bible 
and some Methodist hymns. That the translations 


might prove beneficial to the Indians and missionaries, 
a committee consisting of Revs. J. Stinson, Ephraim 
Evans, William Case, Peter Jones and James Evans 
was appointed to prepare ajid adopt a uniform system 
of orthography for the Ojibway language. Shortly 
after the Conference of 1837, Evans proceeded to New 
York with his translations, that he might have them 
printed. After some delay, the work was proceeded 
with, and satisfactorily completed. Peter[ Jones, on his 
return from England by way of New York, sought out 
the intrepid missionary, and mutual was the joy of 

Nearly four months were spent in New York super- 
intending the publication of the Ojibway translation, 
and then he homeward turned his weary feet, laden 
with literature for his red men. 

A short time before going to New York he sent the 
following letter from the Credit Mission, where he was 
spending a few days arranging missionary matters, 
preparatory to going to Toronto, and then to New 

" JvZy Uh, 1837. 

" Our Conference was peacable upon the whole, and 
closed with a very amicable feeling, and we trust the 
preachers went to their different fields of labor pre- 
pared to encounter and overcome the obstacles which 
presented themselves in the great work of preaching 


the everlasting Gospel. When Brother Hurlburt 
arrives he must take a house, if one can be procured 
in the village; and if not, he must rent one of the 
Indian houses. I am anxious the chapel should be 
progressing as early as possible, we must have a good 
house immediately. If anything can be done before I 
return, I shall be glad. We must go on with the sub- 
scription, and when the key is delivered £100 will be 
available from the funds of the Missionary Society. I 
expect you begin to think me rather long, but I think 
your patience will be more severely taxed before I 
return. I shall in all probability be absent yet about 
four wee*ks. I hope you will spare no pains in having 
the garden well cultivated. If you want a little 
money, you can get ten dollars from Mr. Moderwell, 
or Mr. Cameron if at home. I will remit you some 
before I leave for New York. Try to make yourself 
comfortable, and want for nothing ; our circumstances 
are pretty good, and I shall be able to meet all demands 
without difficulty. Say to Wawanosh, that he will 
undoubtedly recover the Saugeen lands. The King 
wishes the Indians to keep every inch of land they 
own. The Conference have memorialized the Gover- 
nor relative to the dissatisfaction of the Indians, and 
if he does not immediately grant the necessary relief, 
a committee is appointed, of which I am a member, to 
make application to the Home Government. A re- 
spectable and very influential society has been formed 
in England, of which some of the Royal Family are 
members, called the Society for the Protection of the 
Aboriginal Inhabitants of the British Dominions. Mr. 


Egerton Ryerson is a member of the society, and will 
correspond on the subject of Indian grievances in this 
Province; and the day is not far distant when oppres- 
sion shall cease, and our Indian brethren rise up to 
stand among us as men. They need only be faithful 
to God and He will do all things well. Write to me at 
New York when you receive this. My best respects 
to Brother Price ; I will send his box. I hope he will 
continue in the school ; his salary will be £25 and his 
board. This, I think, will make him comfortable. 
George had better try to remain till I return at least, 
when I think employment can be found for him. His 
salary will be the same as before, and I hope he will 
try and do something in translating some good tracts 
or other useful works." 

After his hard toil in New York, with many an- 
noyances and absent from his home very much longer 
than he expected, he wrote a cheery letter to his wife 
on the eve of his departure for home, which gives us 
an insight into his work, and reveals several pleasing 
traits in the missionary's character. 

"New York, 10th November, 1837. 

" My Dear Wife and Children, 

" I this afternoon bid farewell to New York, and 
feel very much like giving them an English " One, 
two, three — hurrah !" My progress will not be very 
rapid homeward, as I have to see that all my goods 
pass through ; for should one package be left on the 


way, it would spoil all my pains ; I shall, therefore, 
accompany them. I have nine large boxes of books ; 
seventeen boxes of stereotype plates of music ; seven 
bundles of spelling books in sheets, and various other 
small ware, too numerous to mention. Two boxes and 
one bundle of paper I forward to Detroit by Buffalo, 
the others go to Toronto ; should those sent by Detroit 
arrive before me, you will be kind enough either not 
to open them or to let any one see them, or to have 
anything to do with them, until I come. I hope to be 

home in , nay, I don't know , but, now I 

am coming. If any person asks any more, * When V 
say, *He's coming/ 

" My spelling book has cost me $151 and a few cents 
printing; the hymns, $554.91, and the music $1,000, 
all of which, with my little bill of expenses here and 
travelling, will exceed a York sixpence. I'm as poor 
as a church mouse, but look to richer days. One 
thing I am sure of that you have been economical, an^ 
80 have I, it*8 trvje, and very good reason, for I was 
seven or eight weeks with not twenty-five cents to 
spend. That was very providential, wasn't it ? I'm 
as fat as a beaver, and as nimble as a deer. I am 
younger ten years than I was fifteen years ago; I long 
to be home to have a play with the children, the little 
girls and boys. Oh, by-the-by, don't forget Miss Jones 

(if such), give my ; if mar — d, my respects. Let 

Clarissa oil the joints of the fingers of her left hand 
eleven times a day, so that they may be limber to 
beat me in playing the accordion. My buoyancy of 
spirits at starting for home has made me write as 
Shaungwaish says, a ' bely kulious letter.' 


"My dear little girls, I kiss you both ; be good girls, 
and try to make mamma happy, and when I come Til 
make you all so. I shall not stay in Toronto any 
longer than is strictly necessary, perhaps two days, so 
that you may look for me about , by-and-by. 

" I was extremely pleased and thankful to God to 
see George's letter in the Guardian, having not heard 
a word for about ten weeks ; I ate it up like a hungry 
man. It gave me a special pleasure to hear that my 
dear people were faithful, and that their numbers 
were increasing. May God increase them more and 
more! I long to see you all. The paddles of the 
steamer will seem to move very slowly all the way ; 
however, 'patience and perseverance overcome all 

" The next letter you receive, I expect to bring my- 
self. I saw sister Verplank and Lily last night, and 
almost fancied I had my Clarry in New York ; they 
send you a peck of love." 

" May the Lord bless you all ! Pray for me, that I 
may be brought in safety to * my own fireside I' " 

" Christian esteem to brother and sister Hurlburt, 
George and his wife and brother Price. Adieu ! 
adieu ! my dear wife and children. Your (during 
life) affectionate husband and father, 

" James Evans. 

"You must keep a good fire, as I shall be coming 
creeping in some evening very cold." 


The man who could adapt himself to his surround- 
ings so easily, was not to be annoyed with hard fare, 


as to food or sleeping accommodation; and this we find 
well illustrated in his trip to Toronto in the month of 
May, 1837, an account of which he gives in a letter 
written at Toronto, May 28th, 1837 : 

" After a tolerably pleasant passage of five days, I 
am safely in the vast metropolis of Upper Canada, 
where, through the mercy of God, I find all well. 
According to my resolution, I took deck passage on 
board the steamer Buffalo, and slept three nights on 
the softest plank I could select ; by this means I con- 
trived to reach Toronto, without having to stop to 
work on the road. On taking my passage, I flattered 
myself that I should, in my great blanket coat, pass 
through the voyage unrecognized, and that, conse- 
quently, my pride would not be wounded ; but, behold, 
first came Mr. Orvis, of Black River, after we were 
on the way, * How do you do, Mr. E. ? ' Next, the 
engineer, of whom I had no knowledge, asked, * Elder, 
are you going to Bufialo?* And, to crown all, at 
dinner time a boy, who used to be cabin boy on board 
the Gratriat, came with, * Elder, will you come to 
dinner ? ' I had the satisfaction of saying, * Oh, I am 
a deck passenger ! ' At Cleveland, came on board a 
gentleman residing near the Credit, who very soon 
recognized me, and congratulated himself, saying, • I 
am very glad to find I shall have some company;' 
and when the bell rang for breakfast, ' Come,* said he, 
' we shall lose our seats.' ' I am a deck passenger,' said 
I ; nor did I care one sou. Thus I had the chance of 
doing penance, and I hope it has done me no harm. 


Although much pain of mind must be endured in 
taking a deck passage, by being compelled to hear a 
great deal of profane language, yet not more than 
would have to be endured in the cabin, where they are 
gambling and swearing half the night." 

The missionaries on the new fields amongst the 
settlers, and on all the Indian missions, had to practise 
rigid economy ; yet they were able to do so without 
compromising the dignity of their profession, or in any 
way injuring their social position. They lived respect- 
ably on small salaries, happy if souls were won for the 
Master. The riches of this world were forgotten in 
striving to lay up treasure in heaven. They had few 
books, but they mastered them, and thus became men 
of culture, able preachers and faithful pastors. 

During a visit paid to Sarnia, in December, 1888, 
the writer learned from some aged residents of the 
town and country adjoining the St. Clair Indian 
reservation, who were friends of the earnest mission- 
ary during the St. Clair period of his work, that he 
was accustomed to cross the river to the American side 
to preach to the Indians who camped there. Clad in 
his blanket coat and moccasins he went to the wig- 
wams, preaching the everlasting Gospel, praying with 
the sick, giving counsel in domestic affairs, and striv- 
ing, by his faithful life and teaching, to overthrow the 
debaMnix customs of the medicine men, and to lead all 



the people into a nobler way of living. During one of 
his expeditions across the river to the Indian camps, 
he was suspected of being a Canadian spy, and was 
closely watched, if not arrested, for his expressed 
loyalty to the interests of the British crown. Ever 
zealous for the welfare of his Indians, he strove to 
lead them always to the cross of Christ, and had the 
satisfaction of seeing many rejoicing in the light, as 
the result of his ministrations. Large numbers were 
added to the Church while he resided on this mission, 
and very many of these remained faithful. The Rev. 
John Douse, who succeeded James Evans, wrote, a few 
months after he had gone to his field, a letter to his 
predecessor, in which he says : 

" We have no drunken Indians. All is quiet among 
them ; and their improved condition, their appearance 
and behaviour, speak much to your credit and success. 
God has highly honored you in their conversion and 
highly improved habits. I have seen no mission or 
people which I think equal to them. May you make 
yourself equally successful in your peculiarly difficult 

station Yesterday I read your letter to 

the Indians, who seemed glad to hear you talk to 
them, and about the prospects and Indians. I inquired 
if they had any word to send, and they replied, * They 
were all great friends to you, and send their salute.' 
Here is one man who pretends to be a prophet — to 
have revelations and visions. 1. He says the people 
are not to attend class- meeting, as it would cause them 


to be lost ; and not to go is the better way. 2. They 
are not to send their children to school, or to flog them, 
it will offend the Kezhe Munedoo. 3. That the Great 
Spirit is very angry with them for killing the large 
frogs which were found at the potato roots last fall, 
and it was very wrong, and will be visited with some 
judgment. 4. That the Great Spirit will save all 
who do right, though not Christians, and drink the 
firewaters sometimes. 5. Next spring he will preach, 
and the missionary and his interpreter will fall before 
him, and I suppose every one else. He has visited 
Ishpeming, and the bad place — been appointed of God 
a great prophet — and that another such prophet will 
be raised on Lake Superior, and two or three other 
places, in a year or two. I forget his name. The 
brethren generally think him a good man, but take 
little notice of his opinions. He is something of an 
Irvingite. My space will not allow of entering into 
further particulars. I am sorry to say he has drunk 
some whiskey, and pretends revelation to justify it. 
George Henry has preached against him." 

The Rev. Dr. Evans, brother of the missionary, re- 
lated an instance of the energy displayed in overcom- 
ing serious obstacles. The missionary had been 
engaged in church matters in Toronto, and returning 
homeward reached London, laden with stores for the 
family and mission, but found that not a single con- 
veyance could be obtained to transport him and his 
baggage home. Squire Morrell, his host, urged him to 


remain for a short time, but duty compelled him to 
make preparations for his departure. He bought some 
siding and other material necessary to build a raft or 
skiff, and proceeded very ingeniously to construct one 
suitable for himself and his " traps." It was sided and 
decked over, leaving only a small compartment in 
which he could sit or kneel, and was made perfectly 
watertight. Stowing away his bedding, clothing, food 
and other articles under the decking, despite the re- 
monstrances of his friends, he launched his tiny craft 
upon the turbulent waters of the swollen Thames. 

Onward he sped, past drifting logs, sand bars, rocks 
and overhanging trees, guiding with a master-hand 
the destiny of his vessel, apparently heedless of the 
dangers and difficulties confronting him on his journey 
eager only to reach the goal where loving hearts 
anxiously awaited his return. Rapids, mill dams, and 
other obstacles of a more or less serious nature had to 
be overcome, but he bravely surmounted them all; for, 
trusting in the Master's care, he bore a charmed life, 
and, eager only to do God's will, he dared to strive to 
win. With paddle and sail he gladly journeyed on, 
"past where Kilworth and Delaware now flourish, 
through the Indian reservation at Muncey, circling the 
Big Bend; on past Moraviantown, through the embryo 
town of Chatham, past the great marshes circling Lake 
St. Clair, till he met the river of the same, when, turn- 


ing up stream, he passed Walpole Island, until the 
high banks of Sarnia and home hove in sight." 

Brave, skilful and pious, he safely reached his home, 
and in accents low and tender told anew of Jesus' love 
and the wonders of the Christian civilization he had 
' lately enjoyed. 

In 1833 the Rev. Egerton Ryerson was in England, 
negotiating for the union of the Canadian Methodists 
with the English Conference, and while there wrote a 
series of letters to the Christian Guardian, on *' Im- 
pressions of Public Men and Parties in England," 
which aroused the ire of some of the Canadian poli- 
ticians of that period. James Evans, with four other 
ministers of the Niagara District of the Methodist 
Church, sent in a protest to Dr. Ryerson, stating that 
thev were anxious to have Canada freed from the 


trammels of a State Church, were loyal subjects of the 
Crown, and objecting to many of the statements made 
in the letters. Dr. Ryerson wrote to James Evans 
upon the matter, and a short controversy followed, but 
unity and love at last prevailed. 



THE fame of John Sunday and Peter Jones had 
spread far and wide, and the success of their 
ministrations had been witnessed in many Indian 
camps, so that many souls as far west as Lake Supe- 
rior had heard the Gospel, and some had been con- 
strained to give their lives to God. John Sunday had 
gone into their camps, and with tears in his eyes told 
the Indians of the saving power of the Cross of Christ, 
and the story of his mission had touched many hearts 
when with native eloquence he related it to Christian 
men and women at the missionary meetings. The 
Church became deeply aroused on the question, and 
resolved to carry on systematic labor on behalf of the 
red men, so in 1838 James Evans and Thomas Hurl- 
burt were both taken from St. Clair and sent to toil 
in union in the district of Lake Superior. In a series 
of letters written by these worthy laborers at this 
time, we get glimpses of their life and labor, worthy 
of preservation and interesting to read. Impressed 
with the grave responsibility of the undertaking, 
burning with love for souls, and sustained by strong 


faith in God, they went forth boldly to engage in their 
work, singing with joy the Methodist pilgrim's song. 
Two men so fully equipped for the mission could not 
be found. Both of them were good linguists, had 
studied the grammatical construction of the Ojibway 
tongue, and were thoroughly conversant with the cus- 
toms, habits and beliefs of the red men. Possessed of 
strong physical constitutions, willing to endure hard- 
ships, zealous in their Master's cause, anxious to see 
souls saved, determined at all hazards to succeed, and 
dreading no fear, they were suited to each other, and 
to the arduous undertaking which the Church had 
given them to do. The Christian people had confi- 
dence in the men, the power of the Gospel to save, and 
the anxiety of the natives to learn the way to life, so 
that they looked for success, and their prayers, sym- 
pathies and good wishes followed the missionaries on 
their westward trip. James Evans left his wife and 
children in Ontario, and proceeded to his mission, 
being preceded by Thomas Hurlburt and his wife. 
The following letter, addressed to Mrs. Evans, residing 
at Sarnia, reveals the strong feeling of loyalty to the 
British crown which was characteristic of the man. 

'' Toronto, Juve 8th, 1838. 

"My Dear, — I arrived safely in this city, through 
the mercy of Divine Providence, and found all well, 
excepting Charlotte, whom I found confined with 


small-pox ; she has, however, had but a slight attack, 
and is now so far restored as to sit up, and begin to 
make a stir about the house. 

" I received my dear Clarissa's letter, and was glad 
to hear of your health and the girls'. I was sorry to 
learn that George was not so well ; but trust that God 
will speedily restore his health, and enable him, under 
the blessing of God, to devote himself wholly to the 
work of the ministry. 

" I find all things peaceable in Toronto. You will 
see by the Guardian the burning of the Sir Robert 
Peel steamboat, one of the largest and best on Lake 
Ontario. There is certainly every prospect of war ; 
and indeed it is inevitable, unless Jonathan will pay 
the piper. Lord Durham has arrived, and he speaks 
like a British peer ; and while Gov. Marcy of New 
York, has offered 250 cents ! oh, no ! dollars, for the 
apprehension of the scoundrels, Durham says, * I 
hereby offer £1,000 for each of the offenders, in order 
to assist the American authorities,' and should the gold 
fail in enabling them to make and keep peace and 
quietness, I guess as how Major Durham will be fixing 
out his rifle, and just kinder quietly sending a few 
fellows in red coats, with a few thousands of lead and 
iron justifiers of affairs, and by a thorough course of 
specie payment, settle in and balance the Caroline, 
Peel, Navy Island, and all other misunderstandings. 

" We have enjoyed a very happy district meeting, 
our business has been transacted with the greatest 
unanimity of feeling and Christian affection. After 
the most mature deliberation, it was considered neces- 


sary for me to go to the Conference under the present 
state of Indian affairs. We have still stronger assur- 
ances that the Government at home are determined to 
do the Indians every justice, and to assist them as far 
as practicable, and I have no doubt but the doings of 
Sir F. will tend to help them rather than otherwise. 

" Brother Hurlburt has obtained the consent of the 
district meeting to go to Mississippi ; but whether 
the Conference will ratify the decision is a matter of 
doubt. We leave this on Monday, God willing. I 
shall be home as soon as possible, the time I cannot 
set. You may venture to arrange matters for my 
visit to the Manitoulin Island about the tenth of July; 
whether I go farther this year is rather a matter of 
doubt, and I should not be surprised if we are again 
stationed at St. Clair. I feel perfectly resigned to the 
leadings of Providence. God, who has hitherto 
directed our steps, is too wise to err and too good to 
be unkind, and I can say without a fear of the con- 
sequences, ' Where He appoints I go.* 

" I met with Brother Chubb on my way to Buffalo, 
on his way from Keewawenong. He brought a letter 
from Ann's father, which Clarissa informs me you 
have received. 

''I am glad to hear that he is satisfied. Brother 
Chubb says they do not intend to visit the Manitoulin 
this summer, so that I need not take Ann ; but should 
her father be there, he can come down and see her 
I hope she is a good girl. 

" I hope my dear baby is good, and endeavoring to 
improve in everything useful. Exchange kisses for 


me, and play 'Home, sweet home, there is nothing 
like home/ 

"Say to Brother Price, nothing has been done respect- 
ing the school ; but as soon as a teacher can be pro- 
cured he will come on. I hope you have obtained the 
money from Mr. McGlashen and paid Mr. Davenport, 

" Write me to Toronto as soon as you receive this, 
and I shall get the letter on my return from Conference. 

" Say to the Indians by Brother Henry that I shall do 
all in my power to influence the Governor and Govern- 
ment in their favor, and that I hope they will 
industriously pursue the improvement of their lands, 
and strive to make their minds easy, and their families 
comfortable ; and above all, remember that it is only 
by a dependence upon God, and obedience to His com- 
mandments, that they can expect His blessing. If 
they remain faithful. He will surely bless them ; but 
if they forsake Him, He has said in His Word He will 
cast them off. They have many great and good friends 
both in America and England, and best of all is, God 
is their Friend. May God bless them and keep them 

in the path of light We left St. Clair 

on Tuesday morning, and had we not stopped at the 
Falls, we could have been in Toronto at five o'clock on 
Thursday evening, being about fifty-seven hours. We 
however stopped at the Falls until Friday, and arrived 
on Friday evening. 

"My kind respects to Col. Thomson, Capt. Vidal 
and family, Messrs. Mothewell, Durand and lady, 
Jones and family, etc., etc., etc. May the Lord bless, 
preserve and keep you all. 


" I am, my very extraordinarily dear and kind and 
never-to-be-forgotten, and more than all others be- 
loved little wife, your indescribably affectionate and 

unchangeable husband, 

"James Evans." 

Never daunted by difficulties and dangers, but ever 
rejoicing in hope of better times, and laughing at 
impossibilities, he went on his way, assured by his 
fervent trust in God of the success of all his schemes. 
An extract from a letter dated July l7th; 1838, and 
written at Goderich, where he was tented at the mouth 
of the river, reveals his buoyancy of spirit which sus- 
tained him in trying times and places : 

*' Dear Wife and Weans, — Here I am, here am I. 
Now, I beg you won't cry, and I'll come by-and-by. 

" We have been bungling along the lake shore as far 
as this place during the last four days ; in fact, we've 
been dreadful lazy, but we are just waking up. We 
have been all preserved in good health and spirits, 
and have happened no more serious accident than just 
getting a wetting and cutting a little sort of a crack 
across the back of my hand ; however, I have never 
allowed it to open, but shut it up with plaster, and it 
is no trouble to me, and I expect in a few days it will 
be well — at least, you must believe so, right or wrong. 

" We had well nigh come back, when the north wind 
took us at the mouth of the river ; however, we rowed 
on, and soon had a fine south breeze, which carried us 
within a few miles of Kettle Point, where we ran into 


a small creek, after scooping out the sand and forming 

ourselves a channel to enter. Here we camped very 

comfortably, looking southward, and my heart going 

pitter patter, and indeed, its been rattling against my 

ribs ever since I started. I feel a little better this 

morning May God bless you all. I am 

as wet as a muskrat, and just starting out with a fair 

wind. Adieu ! God bless you all ! Kiss each other 

for me. 

* ' And when 1 come back, 

Which will be in a crack, 

Then you'll each have a smack. 

" J. Evans." 

The party continued on their journey, stopping at 
Manitoulin Island to preach to the natives. In a letter 
sent to his wife, who was residing at Cobourg, dated 
Mesezungeang, August 20th, 1838, he says : 

" My last letter I finished at and forwarded from 
Munedoowauning (or Devil's Hole), the Indian name 
of the bay selected by Sir F. B. Head as the future 
residence of the Indian tribes ; a very fit name, by-the- 
by. We arrived in this place on the 30th of July, all 
• well, and immediately commenced endeavoring to do 
good, by preaching the blessed Gospel of salvation. 
The pagans have, during our stay, paid good attention 
I have no doubt but many have been favorably im- 
pressed with regard to Christianity. We have baptized 
several adults with their families, and left the island 
(Manitoulin) just two weeks after our arrival. We 
.ha^ye not had fair winds, but fine weather during our 
passage to and stay on the Island." 


On the 23rd of August, 1838, he wrote a letter from 
Sault Ste. Marie, as follows : — 

" We, last evening, about five o'clock, reached this 
place after nine days' hard rowing, and one day's fair 
sailing. The blessed Lord has been very gracious to 
us, He has preserved us from all evil. We have not 
had a shower of rain to wet us since we left St. Clair, 
and we have never been laid by a whole day on account 
of heavy winds^— we have all enjoyed good health — 
and our temporal wants have been bountifully supplied. 
In fact, our Munedoo provided for us when the 
Munedoos of the pagans let them hunger. I could 
particularize several instances, but one was so remark- 
able that it cannot be overlooked. Soon after our 
arrival at the Munnedoolin, Brother Sunday and his 
comrade came, and having neither money nor provisions, 
they turned in and shared with us in true Indian 
style the blessings which we were enjoying. Their 
company and our own made a family of ten, and all 
these mouths soon gave our flour barrel the consump- 
tion. On Saturday we found our flour and pork ad- 
monished us to be going, if we intended to have any 
provisions with us on our way to the Sault ; and yet 
the presence of a Catholic bishop and two priests, 
together with Episcopal ministers, made it necessary 
that we should, if possible, prolong our visit. We, 
therefore, started out and peeled birch bark, and fished 
in the evening. A number of the Indians started out 
before us, and some at the same moment; some went 
down the bay, and others accompanied us upwards, 
not one who went with us caught a single fish. Their 


canoes ran within ten yards of ours for a mile or more, 
and fished ahead and astern of us, and caught nothing, 
but came home expressing the greatest astonishment 
on seeing that we brought home thirty-five pickerel. 
We told them the Lord sent them before the canoe, 
and I hope they believed it, for I am sure it can be 
accounted for in no other way. To His name be the 
praise for all our mercies ; we have had plenty of fish, 
and we are now in the best fishing country perhaps in, 
America. The Sault Ste. Marie is a very handsome 
place, and the people appear exceedingly friendly. It 
will surprise you when I say, that the waters of the 
St. Clair are muddy in the clearest time, compared 
with these waters ; they are as pure as crystal, and 
teem with fish of the very first quality. The weather 
here is very fine, and I think at present as warm as in 
Toronto. I yesterday crossed the river and called on 
Mr. Nause, the Factor of the Honorable Hudson Bay 
Company; we found him, as we found the Agent's 
where I dated this letter, very obliging, and ready to 
render us every possible assistance in prosecuting our 
mission northward. He informs us, as do the principal 
traders in this vicinity who have travelled through our 
circuit, that there are abundance of Indians, more on 
the north shore than on the American side ; but they 
are during the winter scattered on the mountains. 
However, there are many, whom the traders term 
' Lake Indians,' who reside all winter near the shores ; 
and we hope to succeed in inducing some of them to 
serve God, and thus open the way for access to a vast 
field of labor, and, as far as we have learned, every 


hope of success. You know, however, I am always 
sanguine, and my hope may arise as much or more 
from my natural disposition as from faith in the 
promises of God ; however, I am endeavoring to trust 
His word, which says, * Lo ! I am with you always." 
There has gone up the lake this summer, a Mr. Cameron, 
a Baptist. He sends word down that the Indians are 
more attentive and more anxious to listen to the Gospel 
than any with whom he had met at any time. He is 
sent by the American Baptist Board. What a pity 
the Canadian and British societies cannot supply this 
region, without the Americans ? " 

James Evans' parents were residing at Charlotte- 
ville. Upper Canada, and as he continued westward he 
often thought of them in his times of hardship and 
want. Remaining for a short time at Mishibegwa- 
doong, he addressed to them a letter from that place 
dated September 19th, in which he says : 

" You may wonder why and how I wander about 
our vast wilderness, and I can assure you I am not less 
a subject of astonishment to myself. It is not from 
choice, for no man loves " home, sweet, home,*' more 
than myself, and I am happy in saying that no man's 
home is made more like home by those I love than is 
my own. But why do I talk about home ; I have 
none — a poor wayfarer — and I must say, I thank God 
I can say it, 

* I lodge awhile in tents below, 
And gladly wander to and fro, 
And smile at toil and pain,' 


And why ? I feel an answer within me. Because, 

* Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel Our 

prospects of success in prosecuting the great work to 
which the Church has appointed us, is at present 
flattering. We have met with many discouragements 
through reports of a discouraging nature, but God has 
graciously cleared away the mists which beclouded our 
atmosphere, and we find ourselves in a vast region of 
moral and spiritual darkness and degradation ; but 
where the poor benighted heathens are already grop- 
ing about to find some one to take them by the hand 
and lead them to the light. The Indians in this region 
are ready for the Gospel and anxious to be instructed, 
not as below, endeavoring to shun the missionary and 
standing aloof from his society, but seeking as dili- 
gently for us as we are for them. The few that are 
at home, at this post generally come in about the time 
of family prayer, in order to enjoy the season of wor- 
ship with us ; and we have this day learned that the 
Indians about Red River are coming six and seven 
hundred miles to inquire for missionaries. The Lord 
is indeed going before us and preparing the way, and 
our motto, through His grace, is 'Onward!' I shall 
not in any possibility find it practicable to return by 
next Conference, and shall do well if I get back next 

The devoted missionary can depict more fully and 
satisfactorily the details of missionary life than any 
writer who has not been on the field during the period* 
and knows little concerning the Indians of that region 


during those early years, and it is interesting to trace 
the record of his work, and the strivings of his spirit 
in his missionary toil. We shall, therefore, let him 
speak for himself, and enjoy the pen-and-ink sketches 
of his life. In a letter addressed to his wife and 
daughter, who were residing ai) Oobourg, dated Feb- 
ruary 10th, 1839, he says : 

"You gave me a little paper class-meeting, and 
why should I not enjoy the same privilege ? I am 
sure it will be agreeable to your feelings. Well I can, 
through grace, say that I am sure God has deepened 
His blessed work in my own soul since I arrived here. 
I enjoy great peace of mind. My intercourse with 
God is not clouded, but clear and satisfactory. I am 
endeavoring to seek after more of the mind which is 

in Christ The world is losing its charms. 

I would just as soon be buried in the depth of these 
wilds as to be in a populous city. I love society, you 
know ; but I trust that God knows I love the poor 
benighted heathen more, and heaven is just as near 
the wilderness as Toronto. I have no home but 
heaven, and I desire no other, but hope God will 
enable me to wander about these dark regions until 

He calls me home I am not by any means 

unemployed here. I have a small school, and am 
striving to do all I can to advance both the temporal 
and spiritual interests of those among whom God has 
cast my lot this winter ; but my sphere is rather 
limited. I hope as soon as navigation opens to get 
more open ground, and to find a more populous loca-* 


tion for the future. Indeed, were it not I expect 
some help from Canada in the spring, I should leave 
this next month, and proceed on snow-shoes to Fort 
William. I very much regret not hearing from 
Brother Stinson this mail, as I cannot now expect to 
hear before May, and am something at a stand in my 
preparations for my next summer's route. Should I 
hear of war between Great Britain and the United 
States I shall be down to Conference, I think ; but if 
not, not quite so early. You may, however, depend 
on my being down as soon as ever I can, consistent 
with the duties of my mission. These I must attend 
to, so long as I consider you safe ; if otherwise, my 
duty is clear — to care for you first, next for the 

When James Evans was stationed on the St. Clair 
Mission he had as his associate Thomas Hurlburt, and 
when he departed for the wilds of Lake Superior, the 
same devoted man accompanied him. This faithful 
missionary possessed linguistic talents of a high order, 
which enabled him in an incredibly short time to 
master the Ojibway language so thoroughly as to talk 
like a native. No other missionary of the Methodist 
Church has evinced such aptitude for grasping the 
intricacies of the Indian languages, the significant con- 
struction of the grammar, and the ability to converse 
freely in the native tongue of the people amongst 
whom he labored, as did this intrepid enthusiast of 
modern times. The testimony of the natives, corrob* 


orated by Peter Jones, supports this statement. Heed- 
less of the dangers and hardships of the journey west- 
ward to Lake Superior, he took with him his family, 
and anxious only for the salvation of the natives and 
the glory of God, he entered the Indian camps, preach- 
ing Christ and Him crucified. The most thrilling tales 
of the devotion of the early Jesuit missionaries do not 
surpass the stories that might have been told of these 
missionaries amongst the Indians of the Lake Superior 
region. They only lacked the opportunity to seize the 
crown of martyrdom to exalt them as master missionaries 
and heroes among men. They had little time at their 
disposal to write long accounts of all their adventures, 
and they were too modest to relate their sufierings, 
whether for the sake of arousing in others like enthu- 
siasm, or for the glory of God. Hurlburt had gone 
ahead of Evans and located at Fort William, where he 
had with characteristic energy begun his work. Under 
date of December 17th, 1838, he wrote a letter to 
James Evans, which reveals matters of interest to 
students of missionary literature : 

"Dear Brother, 

*' The mail arrived here last evening from Red 
River, and leaves to-morrow for the Sault; this is 
about ,two weeks sooner . than we expected it. I 
arrived here on the 30th of October, just one week 
after leaving Michipicoton. With regard to my recep- 


tion here, I have nothing further to wish. Mr. Swan- 
ston has done everything in his power to forward our 
objects and also to render me comfortable. Shortly 
after my arrival a house was prepared, and on the 6th 
of November I commenced school with twelve scholars; 
but after the return of the fishermen thev increased 
to twenty. Their attendance is not regular, but it is 
very seldom that I have less than fifteen. As all 
speak the Indian here, I have the children repeat the 
Ten Commandments and Lord's Prayer. I sometimes 
explain the Commandments, and enforce the duties 
enjoined, and I am happy in hearing it observed that 
the children are more orderly than formerly. Upon 
my first arrival here, a request was made by some of 
the people, that I would' have prayer with them every 
evening ; though the majority are Roman Catholics, 
yet they pretty generally attend. When at home I 
generally have, perhaps, from thirty to fifty every 
night. My congregations on the Sabbath sometimes 
amount to as many as sixty. Whether we establish a 
mission here or not, I hope my residence among them 
this winter will do them no harm. There are six or 
seven Indian men here, and more women than men ; 
the latter part of them attending on Sabbath and 
every evening to prayers and singing. (Mr. Swanston 
leads the singing.) The Indians here appear very fond 
of singing. Had I spelling-books and hymn-books, I 
could easily teach them to read the hymns. Four or 
five young women have attended school occasionally 
and having two spelling-books, I taught them nothing 
but the Indian. I am much pleased to see the facility 


with which the new orthography may be acquired by 
those uncorrupted with the old. I think that a month 
or six weeks' faithful application would enable a per- 
son entirely ignorant of letters to read the hymns with 
fluency. I shall not forget this thought if sent to any 
new mission in this country. When I take up a trans- 
lation in another orthography, it makes me sick at 
heart to see the letters screwed, contorted and placed 
in every position to make them say something, and 
then you can give about as good a guess at the sound 
as though it was in Chinese characters. The chief of 
this place, Ashueoo (the Spaniard), who was baptized 
at the Manitoulin by the Rev. Mr. O'Neal, is now at 
the Grand Portage, or near there with the priest. 

" This Ashueoo sent for the priest before he went to 
the Manitoulin, and since his return he has been bap- 
tized again by the priest. As soon after my arrival 
as convenient I endeavored to ascertain the true state 
of the Indians. I was sometimes told that all the In- 
dians had been baptized by the priest, and again I 
would hear that only a part had. I can now reconcile 
these difierent accounts, for some of them remain con- 
stantly in the vicinity of the Fort, while the majority 
remain principally in the interior; and of these the ;^ 
better part have not been baptized by the priest, while^ii' 
the former have. 

" I am at a loss what to say with regard to the pros- 
pects here ; but am inclined to think that a mission 
might be established to advantage. The Catholics 
having got in before us is quite a drawback, and we 
shall have prejudices to contend with that had no ex- 


istence a year or two ago. There is enough of good 
land here. Potatoes, barley, peas, oats and garden 
vegetables grow very well. Lake Nipegon and Rainy 
Lake are the two principal places in these parts for the 
resort of numbers of Indians. In my opinion, we 
should take these two places in preference to any 
others. Lake Nipegon is better situated for obtaining 
supplies of provisions than Rainy Lake. You will 
require a guide in going to Nepigon, as the river is not 
followed on account of being very rapid ; but they go 
up a small stream, and carry over again to the main 
one. When you see the Governor you will, of course, 
make all necessary arrangements with him, should we 
think of occupying Rainy Lake and Lake Nepigon. 
I suppose it would be difficult for us to subsist for the 
first few years without assistance from the Company." 

Thomas Hurlburt encountered many difficulties in 
his missionary toil, arising from antagonistic missions 
and the nomadic habits of the natives. His own par- 
ticular work was hindered by the influence of a mis- 
sionary named Cameron, whose father resided among 
the Indians at Michipicoton, where he had married the 
sister of the principal chief. The missionary claimed 
the Michipicoton Indians, and as he could speak the 

Indian language perfectly, his mother being an Indian, 
he had unbounded influence among the people. De- 
spite these hindrances Thomas Hurlburt continued in 
labors abundant, and good results flowed from his 
disinterested toil. 


In a letter addressed to James Evans, dated at Fort 
William, February 1st, 1839, he says : 

** Dear Brother, 

" We expect the mail will arrive from the west 
next week, so I wish to be prepared for it in time, and 
not be taken by surprise, as I was before. I feel 
rather at a loss for materials to write an interesting 
letter, as there has been almost a perfect sameness in 
every respect since my arrival here. I am^still in the 
school. I have preaching every Sunday, and prayers 
every night. I am much pleased with the attention 
paid by the people to divine things, though mostly 
members of the Catholic persuasion. I visit the Indians 
at their own homes occasionally, and they visit me 
every evening. I find them anxious to be instructed 
in religious matters, but their prejudices are so much 
warped in favor of the Catholics that it is difficult to 
deal with them as they might be dealt with. They 
have received the crucifix, beads, and other mummeries 
from the priest, instead of the Gospel, and to these 
they trust in the same manner as they formerly did to 
their medicine bag. My aim in every discourse is to 
show them, as they can bear, what the nature of true 
religion is. Some appear to be quite serious." 

We shall get some further knowledge of the work 
and its difficulties from the pen of the same devoted 
missionary, which will give us an insight into mission- 
ary life, characteristic of the man. On April 9th, 


1839, he sent from Fort William another letter to 
James Evans : 

"Dear Brother, 

" Yours of the 24th of February I received on 
the 28th, and the one of the 25th of March arrived 
last night. Since writing my last there has been 
change enough to furnish materials for writing, if 
these changes were of sufficient importance to com- 
mand attention. About the time of sending off my 
last letter, the priest at the Grand Portage became 
acquainted with the fact of my being here, and sent 
word prohibiting any of the members of his Church 
attending to my instruction. Shortly after, he sent 
an Indian, whom he has been instructing for some 
time, who came and remained until he had exacted a 
promise from all whom the priest could influence, that 
they would attend me no more. From what I learn 
from the Indians, the priest has been giving them his 
own version of a history of the Church. I need not 
tell you what this is. Seeing he commenced without 
any provocation, I thought it incumbent on me to say 
something in my own defence, or hjave the impression 
on the minds of these ignorant people that I was 
convicted of being an agent of Mujemunetoo, and had 
nothing to say for myself. I requested that, as they 
had attended to me all winter, and had left me without 
giving any notice, they would come once more, as I 
had something to say to them by way of parting 
advice, but none came, they were so terrified by the 
denunciations of the priest and by a book which he 


sent, with the devil pictured in it, with a pitchfork 
throwing the Protestants into Tophet. The priest 
may get pay for this. Let him answer it. Before 
this my prospects were good, several I thought were 
seriously impressed, and I have since learned that one 
of the two that were here, that had not been baptized 
by the priest, had come to the conclusion to join him- 
self to me ; but, unfortunately for him, he applied for 
counsel in a wrong quarter. 

" I have seen a few of the Indians of the interior, as 
they came to get their supplies. One of them, while 
here for a few days, attended the Indian priest, and 
also attended to hear me, and at going away he came 
and told me that he was pleased with what he had 
heard from me ; that I was not like the priest, speak- 
ing evil of others, but what I said was good. He 
thanked me for my instructions. I am persuaded that 
some few might be gathered here yet ; but their num- 
ber would be small, as the priest and Mr. Cameron 
were among the band before I came. All, without ex- 
ception, tell me that, had I come a year ago, they all 
would have joined themselves to me. I think that 
some one should be sent to Rainy Lake as soon as 
possible, before the priests do us more harm. I hear 
that Mr. Charles, the gentleman in charge, is anxious 
for a missionary, but says that he must have an inex- 
haustible supply of patience and perseverance to deal 
with those Indians. Mr. Taylor, at Nipegon, heard 
of my being here, and said he wished I was at Nipe- 
gon. The way is open for us in every direction. Had 
I an Indian with me, I should go to Rainy Lake for 


the summer. From what I hear of their character, I 
should expect them to be indifferent and shy at first. 
I heard that some of the Nipegon Indians said, * What 
do we want of a minister, we have our own way V 
Polygamy will be one great obstacle in our way at 
Rainy and Nipegon lakes. My impression is that one 
should teach our converts to read our hymns and sing 
them without any delay, as it will strengthen them 
greatly, and give them much consequence in the eyes 
of their pagan brethren ; and this is easily done. 

" I stand ready for any part of the work. I want 
that you should write to me or Brother Stinson, or 
both, that it may be known at Conference what your 
arrangements are. Did I have the shaping of my own 
course, I should get James Young and go to Rainy 
Lake. I think to offer myself to the Conference for 
that field if I hear nothing from you ; but I am will- 
ing to go anywhere, however remote and insignificant 
the place may be. If I get no word from you at the 
Conference, I can at the Sault on my return, and can 
direct my course accordingly. You, of course, know 
the situation of the Indians at the Peak ; there has 
been no missionary to them yet. The Peak (pic) would 
be a comfortable situation for a man that had a family, 
as every necessary could be easily procured. I wish 
to go where God directs ; that is all my wish ! 

" I intended to tell you that I had not written to 
Brother Stinson ; but it slipped my mind at the time 
of writing. 

" My little son, whom I never saw, made but a tran- 
sient stay in this world on his way to a better. He 


died on the 18th of October, aged two months and 
seven days. My family were well up to the 9 th of 
November. My wife had rather go with me across the 
Rocky Mountains, and live in a bark wigwam, on fish, 
than in a city full of kind friends and all the luxuries 
of life without me. We will see if her courage holds 
out when put to the test, in this Lake or Rainy Lake." 

James Evans was assisted in his work by Peter 
Jacobs and his wife, Ojibway Indians, who had be- 
come sincere Christians. The winter and spring 
months of 1838-39 were spent in earnest missionary 
toil in the small camps of the Indians, but despite the 
solitude and poverty, the faith of the cross and the full 
assurance that God*s will was being done, gave the con- 
quest over all hindrances, diflBculties and pain of body or 
mind. The sad intelligence was conveyed to the lonely 
missionary in the wilds of the west that his brother 
Joseph had been drowned. During the spring months 
Thomas Hurlburt bade adieu for a short time to his 
trying field of toil, and went east to attend Confer- 
ence, where he elicited much interest and enthusiasm 
by his devotion to his mission, and the presentation 
of his Indian grammar and translations. After the Con- 
ference he returned to the west and spent several years 
among the Indians on the north shore of Superior, 
doing very effective work in educating the young, and 
leading souls to Christ, studying the languages of the 


people, and introducing many reforms in their do- 
mestic and social life. 

James Evans did not arrive until after Conference, 
but was stationed at Guelph, Ontario, during 1839, 
whither he went in August of that year, and remained 
until he left for his great work among the Indians in 
the Hudson's Bay territory. A very successful year 
was spent at Guelph, where he showed such energy, 
sterling piety, and excellent preaching ability, that 
the people admired his talents, and he left a hallowed 
influence that has remained until the present time. 
The membership of the church in that place had an 
addition of sixty-four during that year. On this field 
he bade a long farewell to ministerial work among the 
white settlers, and henceforth devoted his time and 
talents to the elevation of the red race upon the lakes, 
prairies and forests of the great Northland. 


Hudson's bay. 

FIFTY years ago Western Canada was peopled by 
Indians and half-breeds and a few white 
settlers. The population was sparse indeed, for the 
country owned by the Hudson's Bay Company was 
several hundreds of miles in extent, and the weary 
traveller, in some parts of this vast territory, might 
travel two and three hundred miles without meeting a 
kindred soul. Indeed, settlers' homes were rare. The 
trappers and traders congregated in small groups, and 
built a "fort" of logs for protection against the rov- 
ing bands of Indians. A country Jarger than Great 
Britain, France, Spain, Germany and Italy combined 
was inhabited by the Indians, half-breeds and traders, 
and not a soul cared to turn his eyes towards this 
land to make a home and spend his days therein. The 
city of Winnipeg stands midway between the Atlan- 
tic and Pacific Oceans, the eastern and western boun- 
daries of the Dominion ; and away westward for more 
than a thousand miles, and northward for nearly the 
same distance, the hunters roamed the plains and 
forests to procure furs for the Company's posts, and 


thither weut the thousands of Blackfeet, Bloods, 
Piegans, Crees, Saulteaux, Kootanies, Sarcees, Chippe- 
wayans, and many other Indian tribes. 

Toward this vast territory, in the year 1832, the 
Methodist Church was eagerly looking, wishing and 
praying that something might be done for the tens of 
thousands of red men that might lead them to live 
for righteousness and God. It was not, however, until 
the spring of 1840 that any decisive action was taken, 
and then it was British Methodism that wished to 
claim this land for Christ. The authorities of British 
Methodism, through the Rev. Dr. Alder, the Mission- 
ary Secretary residing in London, England, and the 
Rev. James Stinson, President of the Conference in 
Canada, informed James Evans that three young men 
were being sent from England to engage in mission 
work among the Indians in the Hudson's Bay Terri- 
tory, and they wished him to take charge of the work 
in that country. He consented, and became General 
Superintendent of these missions. The Rev. Messrs. 
G. Barnley, W. Mason and R. T. Rundle embarked at 
Liverpool by the Sheridan, for New York, on the 
16th of March, on their way to the territory of the 
Honorable the Hudson's Bay Company, to commence 
missionary operations among the settlers and native 
tribes of that vast region of North America, under the 
protection and chiefly at the expense of the Company, 

Hudson's bay. 147 

whose proposals to the Society have been of the most 
liberal and honorable character."* On the 12th of April, 
1840, these young missionaries arrived at New York.-)- 
Without any specific arrangements being made, the 
intrepid missionary speedily completed all the necessary 
preparations for the journey to the northern land, and 
accompanied by his wife and daughter Euphemia, he 
started for Montreal to take passage, if possible, in the 
Hudson's Bay Company's brigade of canoes. He took 
with him two young Ojibway Indians, Peter Jacobs 
and Henry B. Steinhauer, as assistants in the work. 
These young men were the fruits of Indian mission 
work, and having received a good education, were well 
adapted for the mission field; and the General Super- 
intendent exhibited good judgment when he made this 
selection. When he reached Montreal he found that 
the canoe brigade had gone, so we find him on May 
12th. 1840. on board the steamer Rideau on the 
Rideau canal, going by the lakes and rivers to his des- 
tination. He met one of the young missionaries, " a 
fine fellow," at Lachine, the others having gone by 
the canoes. He proceeded on his journey, going by 
way of Sarnia, Detroit, Lake Huron, and into Lake 
Superior to Fort William without entering a canoe, 
but from this point they went by canoe, and found the 

* ** Wesleyan Missionary Notices," April, 1840. 
t "Wesleyan Missionary Notices," July, 1840. 


route tedious but interesting. He had to send his 
Ijoods to London, England, to be sent to the Hudson's 
Bay, where they would arrive in three or four months 
after he had sent them. The Hudson's Bay Company 
had engaged to furnish the missionaries with all neces- 
saries, as canoes, provisions, interpreters and houses 
free of charge, and letters of introduction to the fac- 
tors in charge of the Company's " forts " had been 
given, so that they were well supplied with ways and 
means for their work.* 

Burning with enthusiasm, and strong in faith and 
hope, he said, " I am in high spirits, and expect to see 
many of the poor savages converted to God." His 
destination was Norway House, but his Held was of 
very wide extent, as he had the supervision of the 
whole work ; and he rejoiced in the prospect of seeing 
the Pacific Ocean, for one of the young men was to be 
located at Rocky Mountain House, and it was his duty 
to visit him. 

In the Minutes of the Conference for 1840, the 
mission stations were thus printed : 

Norwaij Jloiine — Lake Wbmipeg — James Evans. 

iV/(>(>.s(' Factonj ami Abittibe — George Barnley. 

Lac-la-I*lui<' and Fort Alexnnder — William Mason. 

Edmo\iUm and Mockif Mountain House — Joseph Rundle. 

James Evans, 

General Superititendent 
* '*Case and His Cotemporaries," Vol. IV., p. 277. 


The name of Mr. Rundle is changed in the Minutes 
of succeeding years, but when the writer was attending 
missionary meetings in Ontario, during the winter oE 
1888-9, he met in Toronto the faithful missionary of 
the North- West, the Rev. Thomas Woolsey, who is 
brother-in-law to Mr. Rundle, who stated that the 
name in full should be Robert Terrill Rundle. At the 
English Wesley an Conference of 1887, the aged mission- 
ary Rundle was superannuated, thus closing practically 
the official labors of a devoted servant of God. All 
honor to these pious men, who amid poverty, sickness 
and isolation continued their arduous labors, heedless 
of the cold, undeterred by the lethargy of the Indians 
on religious matters as taught by Christians, or the 
threats of the bold bad men of the camp, and who at 
last, in the solitude of their homes, pray for the blessing 
of God to rest upon the red men of the Canadian 
North-West. Norway House, the headquarters of 
Evans* missionary enterprise, was founded in 1819, by 
a party of Norwegians who established themselves at 
Norway Point, having been driven in 1814-15 from 
the Red River.* 

It became one of the chief depots of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, and was called Norway House. It is 
situated at the north end of Lake Winnipeg, and is 
nearly four hundred miles north from the city of 

* "Franklin's Narrative," I., p. 61. Bouchette's " British Do- 
minion," L, p. 41. Quoted by ** Bancroft," Vol. 32, page 725. 


Hudson's bay. 151 

Winnipeg. The fort was built at the mouth of a 
small stream called Jack River, upon a rocky founda- 
tion, hidden between the rocks which rise abruptly, 
so that the occupant of the canoe guided by the flag 
that floats from a staff erected upon a lofty eminence, 
cannot see the fort until he has nearly touched the 
wharf.* Near the fort lay the tranquil waters of 
Playgreen Lake, and between this and the fort rose a 
rugged mass of rocks, always covered with human 
beings when the canoe brigade arrived. Norway 
House was an excellent location for a mission, and 
especially for the General Superintendent, as the 
brigade of boats from York Factory and Red River, 
on their way to Athabasca and Mackenzie River, 
passed Norway House going and returning, thus the 
red man and half-breeds from widely scattered regions 
of the great North-West heard the Gospel and carried 
to their homes the truths and influences of the Chris- 
tian religion. Nearly all the Indian tribes of the 
country were represented in these canoes, and the pro- 
gress made from year to year on this mission was 
reported in the camps of the Indians in the far north, 
in the lodges of the prairie tribes of the great Sas- 
katchewan, and from thence the story was carried by 
the warlike buffalo hunters to the busy camps of the 
Indians on the banks of the Missouri and Yellowstone. 

* Ballantyne's " Hudson Bay," p. 116. 


Robert Terrill Rundle arrived at Norway House in 
the summer of 1840, on his way to Edmonton, where 
he was destined to labor, and two very pleasant and 
profitable months were spent there. The Company's 
aprent, Mr. Ross, and his amiable family, entertained 
him, a place of worship within the stockade was 
placed at his disposal, and contributions were freely 
given to help on the work. Seventy-nine baptisms 
and ei^ht marriap;es were performed by this faithful 
man by the first of August, and the nucleus of a 
church formed. 

James Evans arrived at Norwav House in the first 
week in August, just two months after the arrival of 
Rundle.* He perceived at once the importance of the 
situation, and lost no time in laying foundations 
broad and solid upon which to rear a superstructure 
that would endure. The people among whom he had 
located were Crees, a tribe of Algonquin origin, allied 
to the Ojibways, Micmacs, Bloods, Piegans and Black- 

Compared with other Indian tribes, they were an 
energetic race. They lived in a cold, bracing climate, 
where timber and water were in abundance. Far 
from the broad prairies, where the buffalo roamed in 
thousands, hunted by the Blackfeet, Sioux, Gros 
Ventres, Crows, Mandans and other Indian tribes, they 

* Rev. John Semmens' MSS. , " Methodism in Winnipeg 

Hudson's bay. 153 

trapped beaver in the streams, fished in the lakes, 
pursued the moose, elk, foxes, and other wild animals 
which abode in the north land in endless variety, their 
flesh furnishing food for the hungry, and the extra 
skins being used as barter for other necessaries of life. 
Medium in height, thin and wiry, they were quick to 
perceive anything belonging to Indian life, were true 
and faithful guides, could run long distances without 
fatigue, and endure the pangs of hunger with appar- 
ently greater fortitude than the white man. They 
were a people intensely devoted to their native religion, 
seeing their gods in the sun, moon and stars, in the 
strangely shaped stones that lay in their path, the old, 
weird-looking trees that grew by the river's side, and 
the cliff or mound that skirted the lake. Super- 
stitious were they to a great degree, having listened 
by the lodge-fires to the traditions recited by the 
medicine men and the aged warriors, and seeing as 
they fully believed, answers to their prayers every 
day. The influence of the medicine men prevented 
the people from indulging any hopes of finding the 
way of life from foreign sources, and when men and 
women learned to follow the teachings of the Christ, 
they soon found all the imprecations of the old con- 
jurors brought down upon their heads. Evans* 
previous training enabled him to begin work at once, 
intelligently and with acceptance. His first winter 



was Spent at the fort, instructiDg the people atul 
studying the Isnguage. 

In the following spring he resolved to locate his 
mission at some distance from the fort, as the influence 
of the population there was nob conducive to the in- 
terests of religion. A beautiful island in Playgreen 

Lake, about two miles from the Norway House fort, 
was chosen, and there the mission was permanently 
located." Donald Ross was the chief factor in charge 
of the fort, and from the inception of the work a 
strong friendship sprang up between the missionary 
and the Ross family. The new mission was called 
Rossville, in honor of its kind benefactor. 
* Byenon'e " Hudson's Bay," p. 88. 

Hudson's bay. 155 

The missionary went into the bush and, aided by 

the Indians, prepared the material for all necessary 

buildings. In a very short period a neat church, 

school and parsonage were erected, whose white walls 

contrasted favorably with the sombre shades of the 

tall trees in the background, and about twenty Indian 

houses were soon built, which were occupied by young 

and middle-aged men with their families.* 

In the summer the Rossville Indians spent their 

time successfully in raising farm produce, and in the 
winter they went off on their hunting expeditions. 

So soon as the work was commenced, a school was 
opened, which was filled with merry boys and girls, 
who were taught reading, writing, arithmetic and sing- 
ing by the missionary. Evans was a good musician, 
and proved successful in teaching the Crees to sing the 
songs of Zion, which they did in a very touching man- 
ner. The tunes the Indians learn from the mission- 
aries become changed after a short period, retaining 
the substance of the tunes, with Indian variations. 
The children became proficient in their studies under 
the able management of Evans. R. M. Ballantyne re- 
lates in a very entertaining manner, a Christmas school 
festival which he attended, presided over by James 
Evans, in those early days. It was such an entertain- 
ment as had never been given, except by the mission- 

* Ballantyne 's '* Hudson's Bay," p. 145. 


ary, consisting of puddings, pies, and cakes, vegetables 
and venison, singing, recitations in English and Indian 
and religious exercises.* The enthusiasm and dievo- 
tion of the missionary won the hearts of the men and 
women, and they rallied around him, listening to his 
words and striving to follow his example. The preach- 
ing of the Gospel brought conviction to their souls, 
and the tears trickled down cheeks unaccustomed to 
feel the effects of weeping. In the public services in 
the church on Sunday, and at the other religious ser- 
vices, souls were stricken down with fear, or aroused 
to a sense of responsibility, and at the altar of mercy 
they sought and found pardon to their guilty souls. 
Classes were formed and leaders appointed to care for 
the weak. The Indians in the camps heard of the 
good work ; how their friends were discarding the 
medicine man's incantations, the gambling feasts, the 
war dances, the religious dances, and were rejoicing in 
the knowledge of sins forgiven, and from the lodges in 
the forest the people came to see for themselves. The 
work spread rapidly, so that the new converts began 
to tell with accents sweet of their new-found joy. All 
their hearts went out toward the tribes in the regions 

Evans determined to visit the tribes who had not 
heard the sound of the Gospel, and, in answer to the 
* Ballantyne's '* Hudson's Bay," pp. 142-148. 


promptings of his own heart, the importunity of some 
of the Hudson s Bay Company employees, and the en- 
treaties of the Indians, he travelled toward the west. 
With his wonderful train of dogs, so fierce and swift, 
he sped over the snow hundreds of miles to the Indian 
camps and the Hudson Bay Company's posts, pro- 
claiming Christ and Him crucified, and marking out 
fields for future laborers. Away to Oxford House, 
two hundred and fifty miles distant, then to York 
Factory, Nelson House, Moose La^e, Cumberland 
House, Isle-a-la-Crosse, Fort Perry, Fort Chippewayan, 
Fort Pitt, and away into Athabasca he goes, visiting 
Lesser Slave Lake and Dunvegan.* 

Burning with a holy zeal for the souls of men, and 
never daunted by hardship or danger, he faced storms 
of the severest kind, that he might do the will of God. 
His journeys were long, and oftentimes very trying, 
yet he failed not to pursue his course and to win. 
Over the rivers and lakes he ** journeyed in his tin 
canoe, made out of sheet tin, which the Indians chris- 
tened, because of its flashing brightness. The Island 
of Light. Gliding swiftly in this ingenious convey- 
ance, as his well-trained crew propelled it through the 
waters by means of their strong paddles, he won the 
admiration of all the people, white and red. •)• 

* Rev. John Semmens* MSS., "Methodism in the Winnipeg 

t Rev. E. R. Young, in Methodid Magazine, 


This missionary adventurer planted far and wide 
the banner of the Cross, and many souls were led by 
him to trust in the Christian Master of Life. When 
hundreds of miles from home, he sent letters to his 
wife written upon birch-bark. He bore a charmed life 
in that north land, for as he " ran " the swiftest and 
wildest rapids, crossed the lakes in the severest storms 
and travelled in the coldest weather, though often- 
times in danger, he always reached home at last. 



THE Cree Confederacy is one of the largest 
branches of the great family of Indians called 
Algonquin. In books written during the early period 
of the history of our country the people were named 
Knistineux and Kristineux, but for several decades 
they have been known under the simpler term, 
which is now universally used. They occupy a vast 
extent of territory, embracing at the present time 
principally Athabasca, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Assini- 
boia, Manitoba and Keewatin. Among the Indians 
there are distinctive names applied to the tribes by 
the people themselves, and not in use among the white 

The members of the Blackfoot Confederacy use as a 
national appellation, Netsepoye, which means, the 
people that speak the same language ; and the Cree 
national distinction is, Naheyowuk, the exact people. 

Judging from the grammatical construction of their 
language, its harmony and beauty, and the influence it 
has exerted over the other languages, the Crees have 
a righteous title to their significant name. Invariably 
among the tribes inhabiting the North-West, some per- 
sons will be found who are able to converse in the 


Cree lan^ua^e. Like all languages during the early 
stage of their development, it is agglutinative in form 
and like Indian languages in general, the entire lan- 
guage beeoiiies a language of verbs. There are two 
leading dialects of this tongue, the Wood Cree and the * 
Plain Cree. Differences of pronunciation are manifest 
among the tribes using the language, induced no, doubt, 
by separation, the influences of religion, population 
and local surroundings. There are few sounds in use, 
and consequently few letters are needed to give 
expression to them. Sexual gender is not denoted ; 
but instead there are two forms employed, namely, 
animate and inanimate, referring to things with and 
without life. 

There are two numbers, singular and plural, and in 
the latter there is a distinction peculiar to Indian lan- 
guage, namely, two first persons plural, the one includ- 
ing the first and third persons, and the other, first and 
second persons only ; as Notawenan, our father, and 
Kotawenan, our father. 

In the formation of names, the terminations in 
general reveal the class to which they belong. Thus 
abstract nouns end in win, simulative nouns in kan. 

Nouns referring to water end in kume, and those 
denoting abundance have their termination in skau. 

Diminutive nouns are formed by adding is or sis, 
as iskweo, a woman, iskwesis a girl. 


The verb has seven conjugations, with a very elabor- 
ate display of moods and tenses, and a large number 
of different kinds of verbs. Many new words have been 
adopted from the English language, and after being 
thoroughly Indianized, have become incorporated in 
the Cree tongue.* When James Evans had got 
settled down to his work, he began with his accustomed 
energy to study the Cree language, conscious of the 
increased influence wielded by the missionary when 
able to speak to the natives in their own tongue. He 
found two eflScient and willing helpers in Mr. and Mrs. 
Ross, the factor and his wife. An old Hudson's Bay 
employee who went to Norway House nearly fifty 
years ago, informed the writer that Mrs. Ross rendered 
the chief help to the missionary in studying the lan- 
guage. It was a comparatively easy task for James 
Evans to master the Cree tongue, as he was thoroughly 
conversant with the Ojibway language, and as these 
belonged to the Algonquin family of languages, their 
grammatical construction was similar. Possessing this 
advantage added to his natural aptitude for studying 
philology, he was not long in gaining knowledge 
sufficient to enable him to carry on a short conversa- 
tion, and with the help of an interpreter, translate 
accurately and with force portions of the Scriptures 
and hymns. 

*'*The Indians ; their Manners and Customs," p. 253. By 
the Writer. 


Quick to observe the principles of language, and 
ever desirous of utilizing his knowledge for the benefit 
of others, he beheld with joy the recurrence of certain 
vowel sounds, which when fully grasped might prove 
of great service in simplifying language and preparing 
a literature for the people. The wandering bands of 
Indians which visited Norway House aroused the 
sympathies of the missionary, and he longed for some 
method by which he could send to distant camps of 
red men the knowledge of Christ and His salvation. 
Pondering deeply, working meanwhile and praying to 
the Most High for assistance, at last in the year 1841, 
the Cree syllabic system was completed, the alphabet 
distributed among the Indians, and placed in the 
school, and instruction given in its arrangement. In 
less than one year from his advent to Norway House, 
he had devised and perfected the syllabic system upon 
which his enduring fame rests. The syllabic system 
is based upon the principles of the system of phonetics. 
There are no silent letters, and each syllable is repre- 
sented by a single character, which characters when 
combined make up words. In the Cree language 
there are four principal vowel sounds, as follows : 
a, g, o, a, which in Evan's alphabet are represented by 
characters called initials or primals. The conso- 
nantal sounds are represented by characters called 
ayUcM^j syllahics or combinationSy and these are 


combinations of the vowels mentioned above with the 
following consonants, k, m, n, p, s, t, y, ch. There 
are also characters called finahy* appendagesf or 
termiTialSyl which are used as terminations to the 
syllables, and thus occupy positions in the formation 
of words. These terminations are written at the top 
of the characters with which they are connected, and 
in smaller form than the syllabics proper. The har- 
monious and complete Cree language is written accu- 
rately by the Evans Syllabic System, which includes 
in its alphabet less than fifty characters, which can be 
mastered by any intelligent white man in less than an 
hour. This wonderful invention is represented com- 
pletely in the following syllabic alphabet : 

* Archdeacon J. A. McKay, "Psalms and Hymns in the 
Language of the Cree Indians. " 

t '* Cree Hymn Book," by Rev. John McDougall and Rev. 
E. B. Glass, B.A. 

J * Methodism in Winnipeg District," (MSS.) By Rev. John 




V A > < 

pa pe po pa 

u n ) C 

ta te to ta 

n r J u 

cha che cho cha 





































q P d b 

ka ke k5 ka 


ma me mo ma 

-D O" -D Q- 

na nS no na 

^ (^ ^ K 

sa se so sa 

^ r^ ^ Sr 

ya y5 yo ya 



c = m 

5 = n 

'^ = s 

- = h 

> = K 

= w 

. = p I 

= r 

/ = t ^ 

= 1 

" = aspirate o 

= ow 

X = Christ 




= uia ne to = spirit. 


= ne p6 = water. 


= ne-ya = I. 


= kS-ya = thou. 


= ng-pa-n = summer. 


= ma-ta-ta-t = ten. 


= ka-ua-pa-k = a snake. 

When the invention had been made, the first 
thought was how to utilize it for the benefit of the 
Indians. There was no printing press, type or paper, 
and it was impossible to get any. Naturally enough, 
the Hudson's Bay Company oflScials objected to the 
introduction of a printing press, lest that mighty censor 
of modern times, the newspaper, should find a location 
within the domains of the Company, and a powerful 
antagonist to its interests arise. The missionary, ever 


fertile in resources, whittled his first type from blocks 
of wood with his pocket-knife, made ink from the soot 
of the chimney, and printed his first translations upon 
birch-bark. Afterward he made moulds, and taking 
the lead from the tea chests, and old bullets, cast his 
first leaden type from these. In January, 1889, the 
writer called upon the Rev. Dr. Evans of London, 
Ontario, who informed him that his brother, before 
leaving Norway House for England, burned nearly all 
his manuscripts. Dr. Evans was in England in 1841, 
attending missionary meetings under the auspices of 
the Wesleyan Missionary Society, when a letter came 
from his brother from Norway House with rough 
castings of the Cree syllabic characters. The letter 
asked the Wesleyan Missionary Society to call on the 
Hudson's Bay Company authorities to obtain per- 
mission to have a printing press sent into their terri- 
tory. Dr. Evans worked hard in conjunction with Drs. 
Alder and Elijah Hoole, to secure this permission, and 
a press and font of type were sent to James Evans. 
These were allowed to go into the country after Dr. 
Evans and the missionary authorities had given a 
pledge that the materials would not be used for any 
purpose but religious instruction. The aged minister 
has now in his possession in his home in London, 
Ontario, some of the original type made by James 
Evans, from tea lead and bullets. He has also some old 
books made of birch-bark, and others ma,dfe ^1 ^w^'^^^ 


printed in the Cree syllabic characters, and bound by 
the inventor himself. 

In a letter written by Dr. Evans to Dr. Carroll, he 
refers to his brother's work at this time in its relation 
to the Hudson's Bay Company, and his invention, as 
follows :* 

" You know his entrance into, and untiring prose- 
cution of missionary work in the vast territory of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, and some of its grand results. 
The peculiar difficulties and painful trials which he had 
there to encounter will never be fully known, nor the 
wonderful triumphs which he achieved. 

" His fearless spirit, resolute self-denial, and power of 
endurance were matters of astonishment to the traders 
and voyageurs of that vast region. 

" I was told by factors and agents of the Company, 
when in British Columbia, who had known him in the 
great Saskatchewan country, that he was famed for 
unflinching courage, sometimes approaching reckless- 
ness, in running rapids which were always shunned by 
both white men and Indians. To save time in reaching 
his destination was with him a cardinal duty. 

" Natural courage, combined with unshaken confi- 
dence in God, enabled him to achieve wonders in his 
lengthened journeys. While much respected and aided 
by most of the Company's officers, he had to encounter 
much opposition from some of them in regard to Sab- 
bath observance, which he always enjoined upon the 
Indians, both at their homes and in his lengthened 
journeys by canoe and dog-sled. The day was a veri- 

* Canadian Methodist Maga^ne, Vol. XVI. , p. 337. 


table day of rest. In several instances, he purposely 
started for distant points simultaneously with the 
Company's brigades, and always succeeded in reaching 
the destination before the brigades which travelled on 
the Sabbath ; and this, noth withstanding the odds 
against him in the Company's choice of their best and 
most experienced voyageurs. During the visit of Sir 
George Simpson, the then governor of the Territory, 
the powerful influence of that gentleman was strongly 
arrayed against him on the Sabbath question. Sir 
George fearing that the resting on that day, by the 
many Indians and others in their employment, would 
injuriously afiect the Company's interests. James 
Evans went down to Fort Garry, met Sir George and 
the Council, and contended several hours for the right of 
the Indians to enjoy the rest. In answer to threats that 
any who disobeyed the Company's orders, should have 
no access to the stores, and should be deprived of ammu- 
nition for their hunting purposes, he told the governor 
that if such measures were resorted to, the whole matter 
would be brought before the Aborigines' Protection 
Society in England, and, by petition, before the Queen 
and Parliament. The contest was warm, but the truth 

*'You know his great success in the invention of the 
characters in which the Cree langruage is now written 
and printed. For some years permission to introduce 
types and a press was refused, but he labored on, 
casting leaden blocks from the lining of the chests in 
which tea was brought into the country, and whittling 
them into shape as best he could ; and by a rough, 
improvised press of his own manufacture, succeeded 

170 JAliES EVAKS. 

in printing many hymns, sections of the Holy Scrip- 
tures, and primary school books, which were of great 
service* I was in England, in 1841, when a set of his 
home-made types was received by the Wesleyan Mis- 
sionary Society, and took some part with them in ob- 
taining permission from the directors of the Hudson's 
Bay Company to have a font cast, and, with a press, 
sent out to Norway House, pledges being given that 
they would be used only for mission work. Their 
arrival was cause of great joy and thanksgiving to 

Mrs. Evans devoted much of her time toward help- 
ing the Indian women and girls, and acted as assistant 
compositor, aiding the missionary in printing hymns 
and portions of Scripture for the use of the Indians. 

The invention was in a very short period under- 
stood by the Indians, who were able to master it in a 
few days. The writer has heard Steinhauer and 
Young repeatedly state that a clever Indian, on being 
shown the characters in the morning, was able to read 
the Bible by their use before the sun went down the 
same day, and that one week was all that was neces- 
sary for the average Indian to master thoroughly all 
the characters, and to use them accurately. A careful 
writer like Semmens has said that, " One month was 
all the time considered necessary to enable even the 
dullest to read for himself, the words of life and lib- 
erty." The following examples will show the method 
by which the single characters are united in the f or- 
ion of words, and the general principles of the 
action of the systems. 




THE lord's prayer. 

bfiVr^'Tq' oc4^r"<ioA-^ 

^Cd.5 P'TPf^d'^ V<IVr^^ PCP"Ur^"Cb-^ PA-"|>A-^; 
P)U6_A-A-5 PCA-Or'T<r^o; VAUH^"CL CA-A"p5 
l>C <T^ bAf^ A"P^ Pf^d^ 

r^ii? <^"- bpf^b^ q o'T ALn/h^\ 

VbA-Sr Af^"qr-"C o-LP) CJA-circLGL, 9 At^ Vb 

Lr^6-o-(L^ prvbLr:)cL^; <rrm"<LA-<L5 


PSr P)U<LA•A•^ Fq. /J-'bHr'A-^ To. P"Ur^A-A-^ 

bpq, To. bpq- vT. 



brc"C"n"p A-4^'^v-A-5<i. 

1 (V4^^) clLA-S^ <]A-4^^ at loo-' PboV- 

2 (o-r') Q-LA-S' bOf^'-C-r'^ qb- QL^Af^'Tb^ <"> 
bCoL'^AC JLb^ Ad 9 b- b<d^ A'AT^ <"> bOV 

b< A^CO-0-' <"> <r"C<]<]-'; OA'^ o-h^ bOVr^Pq^ 
PLcr)S o-b'^V- r^rP^ VLo-)A-4^^ V<PnQ_J<I-b-o 
00-r^V 0<l-cr XJA-crr^o C>"CA-<j<]-^ A^'d cr^C-o 
FcL -Dt>-o <]^<]"b- bcr"CA-Pn CO b<b-f^r\ To. 

v^d'o<]-b-o p^<i-nf^A-^ 0PTrc")rcQ_v-<-' co 

b^P"Ar' fcL bb(iLV-r^"C"P^ o-C^S^'V-A-Q.. 

3. (cr^)) Q.LA-S' Ab-^AC PbOH-D^ 0A"l>A-5 
bOVr^'Tq^ PLo-)S OA'^ bOV r^"q' PCC^Vr^"|o 
Ab-^AC qO"nQ_<^Ar^' l>"A- "OA-^ 

4 (-dO) bQ.VT^"C OS^fVA- Pr'bo PCbo-fCr^^ 

b At^ A-h^"<d-n'^' bnvr^'Tq^ PLo-y. o-dc-r^' 

Pr^bo PbOr'b^ Tq. PbDU^ b"P4^o pcrqA-^; Lb 
U<d"' O Pf^b' VO-d OCr^V-A Pf^b^ bn VH^'Tq^ 
PLo-DS ^ciC Q.Lqb- <)"- qA-5 b:)U^ PSr, <"> 

pdr^, <"> PCo-" <]"> Pclva- orq'b^b^ <"> 


<"> Ad <Q- PA.-^'P^^ <"> bL^UA-^ A'T 


5 (o-S^^^^) P'Ur^^ d"CA To. PbA- b Ar' 

A-<]"<d-n"^ bnvr^"q^ plo-d^ pc p^O"c ppr^bL, 

Fq. PCr-:^<r^S^^ AC <I"P^ b<Pncr"" bOVr^'Tq^ 

6 (o-dCy^) Q.LA-S- Pbo-<"(b^ 

7 (U<d"') Q-LA-S- PbLLA-n A)^ 

8 (<lr^Q--Do) Q.LA-^ PbPLH^ 

9 (qb-rcc"^) Q.LA-S- p^p<i" p<]rLo p-<]r^t^o-o. 
10 (rcc") Q.JA-S' Pb<]b<i<j <d-o p-<]^^o-o 

A-<]-; Q-LA-^ Pb<lb<]- (J<]-o p-<Ir^r^o-o 0<•"^bAb^ 

<3> 0o-"CAp^b^ <"> ocLVA- <3rqVb^ <]"> 
i>n"q-A-<]rq4-b^ <]"> o^'r'" <n^i>s <]••> Ad qb- 




<]f^Q.-Di>rco-o u<d">K'. 

1 ACb-> vrov^ <]"p 

Lb-- O-'Vo d^<"UQ.o 
Lb d"CA-cLO VdU 

VdU <nL 
vbu <nL 


2.PbcrbJcLO VdU 

ALr"I>A- o-bJcL 
<1"J'' JK^ Crv-r^J 

Q.L A"Cb-^ -D^)f^A-^ 

VdU <nL, &c. 

3 d"CA-Q.o 9brhra.o 

KP'^A- Q.d."dJA-^ 
Vrr^dS-'^ VLP v-^ 

^v-f^"e CO pf^bo. 
VdU <nL, i&c. 



THE knowledge of this wonderful invention was 
soon noised abroad among the Indian camps, 
and the fame of this great teacher, who had left his 
home to train the sons and daughters of the red men 
spread far and wide. In the lodges of the Crees, 
Saulteaux and other tribes of Indians, the people 
talked about the wonderful invention of the mission- 
ary at Norway House. The brigades of boats that 
passed to and fro carried the news far inland among 
the bands of heathen Indians, and soon at York Fac- 
tory and Fort Garry it became known that a wise 
missionary had devised a very simple plan by which 
the Indians could in a few days read as well as the 
white man, who has spent some years learning to read 
and write. We need not wonder at the astonishment 
of the Indians and half-breeds, for the records of its 
influence and simplicity have aroused the interest and 
sympathy of men of culture, and not the least amongst 
the number. Lord Dufferin, late Governor-General, 
who, when the characters were explained to him by 
E. R. Young, said, " Why, Mr. Young, what a blessing 



to humanity s the man who invented that alphabet 
I profess to be a k n<l of a 1 terary man myself and 
try to keep up mv reading of what is go ng on but I 

never heard of this before The fact is the nation 
has given many a man a t tie and a pension and then 
a resting-place an 1 a iioiument in ^^<;stmlnster 


Abbey, who never did half so much for his fellow- 
creatures. Who did you say was the author or in- 
ventor of these characters ? " 

" The Rev. James Evans." 

"Well, why is it I never heard of him before, I 
wonder ? " and the missionary aptly replied, " Well, 
my lord, perhaps the reason why you never heard be- 
fore of him was because he was a humble, modest 
Methodist preacher.'* " That may have been it," re- 
plied the courteous governor, and we agree with his 

The wonderful simplicity and adaptability of the 
system to the Indians' modes of thinking, the con- 
struction of the language and wants of the individual 
made it peculiarly attractive, and the knowledge of 
its existence rapidly spread. Although James Evans 
possessed superior intellectual powers, he was more at 
home in rugged missionary work than when engaged 
in purely mental toil. He looked for results, and 
whatever would ensure the salvation of souls and the 
civilization of the tribes was eagerly grasped and 
utilized for these purposes. His heart went out to- 
ward the inhabitants of the distant regions who had 
never heard the sound of the Gospel, but the people 
belonging to his particular mission claimed his first 
and most earnest attention. 

Having found that there were many serious dis- 


advantages toward successful missionary work by the 
close proximity of a white settlement to a mission, 
James Evans determined to remove his mission some 
distance from the fort. A spot was chosen about two 
miles from the Norway House Fort, and in honor of 
the factor, Donald Ross, who was of great service to 
the cause of Christianity, it was named Bossville. So 
soon as the selection of the location was made, the 
missionary went into the woods with the Indians and 
got out timber, and rapidly native houses were built, 
with bark roofs, displacing the skin lodge which was 
the ever-present evidence of nomadic habits. The 
village grew, until in a short time twenty native 
dwellings, besides the miasion premises, were erected. 
The children were gathered into the school and taught, 
the women found efficient teachers and helpers in 
Mrs. Evans and family ; and the missionary translated, 
printed the translations in the syllabic characters, and 
bound them with his own hands. During the period 
of which we write, R. M. Ballantyne, author of " Hud- 
son Bay ; or, Every-day Life in the wilds of North 
America," was a clerk at Norway house in the service 
of the Hudson's Bay Company, and in his book he has 
given an entertaining reminiscence, which fully illus- 
strates missionary life at Bossville, which we must 
give the reader the pleasure of reading, as the famous 
author was a frequent visitor at the Bossville mission 


" Mr. Evans, the Wesleyan missionary, is to give a 
feast to the Indians at Bossville, and afterwards to 
examine the little children who attend the village 
school. To this feast we are invited ; so in the after- 
noon Mr. Cumming and I put on our moose-skin coats 
and snow-shoes, and set off for the village, about two 
miles distant from the fort. By the way Mr. Cum- 
ming related an adventure he had had while travelling 
through the country . . . Mr. Cumming concluded 
his story just as we arrived at the little bay, at the 
edge of which the Indian village is built. 

From the spot where we stood the body of the vil- 
lage did not appear to much advantage, but the par- 
sonage and church, which stood on a small mound, 
their white walls in strong contrast to the back- 
ground of dark trees, had a fine picturesque effect. 
There were about twenty houses in the village, in- 
habited entirely by Indians, most of whom were 
young and middle-aged men. They spend their time 
in farming during the summer, and are successful in 
raising potatoes and a few other vegetables for their 
own use. 

In winter they go into the woods to hunt fur-bear- 
ing animals, and also deer, but ^ they never remain 
long absent from their homes. Mr. Evans resided 
among them and taught them and their childen writ- 
ing and arithmetic, besides instructing them in the 


principles of Christianity. They often assembled in 
the school-hoTise for prayer and sacred music, and at- 
tended divine service regularly in the church every 
Sunday. Mr. Evans, who was a good musician, had 

taught them to sing in parts, and it was a wonder- 
fully pleasing effect upon a stranger to hear these 
dingy sons and daughters of the wilderness raising 
their melodious voices in harmony in praise of the 
Christian's God. 

Upon our arrival at the village we were ushered 
into Mr. Evans* neat cottage, from the window of 
which is a fine yiew of Play green Lake, studded with 
small islands, stretching out to the horizon on the 
right, and a boundless wilderness of trees on the left. 
Here were collected the ladies and gentlemen of Nor- 
way House, and a number of indescribable personages, 
apparently engaged in mystic preparations for the 
approaching feast. It was with something like awe 
that I entered the school-room, and beheld two long 
rows of tables covered with puddings, pies, tarts, 
stews, hashes, and vegetables of all shapes, sizes and 
descriptions, smoking thereon. I feared for the 
Indians, although they can stand a great deal in the 
way of repletion ; moderation being, of course, out of 
the question with such abundance of good things 
placed before them. A large shell was sounded after 
the manner of a bugle, and all the Indians of the 


village walked into the room and seated themselves, 
the women on the one side of the long tables, and the 
men on the other. Mr. Evans' stood at the head and 
asked a blessing, and then commenced a work of 
demolition, the like of which has not been seen since 
the foundation of the world ! The pies had strong 
crusts, but the knives were stronger ; the paste was 
hard and the interior tough, but Indian teeth were 
harder and Indian jaws tougher; the dishes were 
gigantic, but the stomachs were capacious, so that ere 
long numerous skeletons and empty dishes alone 
graced the board. One old woman, of a dark-brown 
complexion, with glittering black eyes, and awfully 
long teeth, set up in the wholesale line, and demol- 
ished the viands so rapidly that those who sat beside 
her, fearing a dearth in the land, began to look angry; 
fortunately, however, she gave in suddenly, while 
in the middle of a venison pasty, and reclining 
languidly backward with a sweetly contented 
expression of countenance, while her breath came 
thickly through her half-opened mouth, she gently 
fell asleep, and thereby, much to her chagrin, lost the 
tea and cake which were served out soon afterwards 
by way of dessert. When the seniors had finished, 
the juveniles were admitted en masse, and they soon 
cleared away the remnants of the dinner. 

" The dress of the Indians upon this occasion was 


generally blue cloth capotes with hoods, scarlet or blue 
cloth leggings, quill- worked moccasins, and no caps. 
Some of them were dressed very funnily, and one or 
two of the oldest appeared in blue surtouts, which 
were very ill-made, and much too large for the wearers. 
The ladies had short gowns without plaits, cloth 
leggings of various colors, highly ornamented with 
beads, cotton handkerchiefs on their necks, and some- 
times also on their heads. The boys and girls were 
just their seniors in miniature. 

"After the youngsters had finished dinner, the school- 
room was cleared by the guests ; benches were ranged 
along the entire room, excepting the upper end, where 
a table, with two large candlesticks at either end, 
served as a stage for the young actors. When all was 
arranged, the elder Indians seated themselves on the 
benches, while the boys and girls ranged themselves 
along the wall behind the table. Mr. Evans then 
began by causing a little boy about four years old to 
recite a long, comical piece of prose in English. Hav- 
ing been well drilled for weeks beforehand, he did it 
in the most laughable style. Then came forward four 
little girls, who kept up an animated philosophical 
discussion as to the difference of the days in the moon 
and on the earth. Then a bigger boy made a long 
speech in the Saulteaux language, at which the 
Indians laughed immensely, and with which the white 


people present (who did not understand a word of it) 
appeared to be greatly delighted^ and laughed loudly 
too. Then the whole of the little band, upon a sign 
being given by Mr. Evans, burst at once into a really 
beautiful hymn, which was quite unexpected and> 
consequently, all the more gratifying. This concluded 
the examination, if I may so call it ; and after a short 
prayer the Indians departed to their homes, highly 
delighted with their entertainment Such was the 
Christmas feast at Rossville, and many a laugh it 
afforded us that night as we returned home across the 
frozen lake by the pale moonlight." 

The zealous missionary could not rest contented 
with the work at his own mission, but began to pro- 
ject schemes for the salvation of the tribes beyond. 

Long journeys were undertaken in the interests 
of the degraded tribes, and some of these, lasting 
several weeks, and in some instances months, were 
periods of hardship and toil, sweetened with the burn- 
ing zeal which dwelt in his breast for the salvation of 

The intense cold, scanty and hard fare, isolation and 
manual labor, were gladly endured for the sake of the 
men and women of the northern wilds, who, haunted 
with superstitious fears, wore their amulets to protect 
them from the power of their spiritual foes. The 
Christian songs of the crew of the missionary's canoe, 


touched the hearts of many of the savage red men, 
and they longed for the peace of mind revealed to 
them through the preaching of the truth of God. 
Many were the narrow escapes of the mission party in 
the dangerous rapids of the northern rivers; but, 
nerved by the example of their intrepid leader, they 
braved the greatest dangers for the glory of God and 
the souls of their fellow-men. Wonderful tales of the 
missionary's daring and love for the red men were told 
around the camp fires far away in the interior, and on 
toward the region of perpetual snow; and visitors 
occasionally came from distant camps inquiring the 
way of life. The village of Rossville rapidly improved, 
so that the school was better attended, and the children 
made rapid advancement in their studies. The mis- 
sionary possessed musical talent, which he used to 
good purpose in training the people to sing, so that 
they were soon able to read music and sing their 
different parts in a very creditable manner. Small 
farms were cultivated, the women learned to spin and 
sew, and the men became handy in the use of hammer, 
saw and plane. Civilization made rapid strides when 
the people accepted the Gospel. They were taught 
that " Cleanliness is next to godliness," and the lessons 
taught were soon seen in better houses, cleanlier and 
neater homes, and happier hearts. James Evans gives 
us a glimpse of his work in 1844, in a letter, as follows: 


" The Rossville settlement will this autumn consist 
of thirty dwellings, a church unfinished, a school-house, 
and a workshop. The timber of which the latter is 
built was all growing in the woods on Tuesday, and 
the building was completed by Saturday evening. 

" No expense was incurred, as the Indians did all 
the work, the women supplying bark for the roof. . . 
Industry is advancing under the influence of Chris- 
tianity. The field we have cultivated, gives promise 
from present appearances of abundant returns. We 
expect to harvest this year from four to five hundred 
bushels of barley, from eight hundred to one thousand 
bushels of potatoes, and about one hundred bushels 
of turnips. These are fair results of one year's plant- 
ing, considering the climate, and the newness of the 
soil. In a year or two it is expected that the Indians 
will raise enough from the fields to keep themselves 
above want. 

"The school under Thomas Hassel is prosperous. 
He is accomplished and diligent, and deserves my high- 
est commendation. His qualifications, piety and 
unremitting labors, have induced me to grant him a 
local preacher s license. He is a Chippewayan by birth, 
but speaks quite fiuently French, English and Cree. 

"Our society consists of eleven classes, supplied 
with leaders and assistant leaders. There are in these 
one hundred and twenty-one members, whose piety 
and Christian deportment have called for no disciplin- 
ary interference since their conversion to Christianity. 
The school is attended by nearly sixty pupils, about 
half of whom read and write both English and Indian. 
The others are spelling and reading easy lessons. 


Religious truth constitutes a large portion of their 
instruction, the Creed and the Lord's prayer, in both 
languages, are familiar to all of them, and our own 
catechisms are repeated by all the more advanced 
boys and girls. They are improving in their know* 
ledge of arithmetic/* 

Rossville continues to improve under the care of 
the missionary, and the Christian Indians sought to 
imitate the " ways of the white men," in a few in- 
stances not to their advantage morally, nor to their 
physical comfort. For some years after the death of 
the devoted Evans, the mission rapidly waned, and 
the prospects were very dark, but in 1872, the 
regular congregation at Norway House was eight 
hundred, with a church membership of three hundred 
and fifty.* 

Many important missions have sprung up at the 
places visited by Evans in the early days. 

The work of translating proceeded well. James 
Evans had brought with him Henry B. Steinhauer, 
from Ontario, who was left at Fort Frances (Rainy 
Lake) as assistant to the Rev. William Mfitson, who 
was stationed at that place, and this young man 
was destined to do much for God and the Indians by 
translating the greater part of the Bible into the Cree 

^'The Torwito Globe, August 16, 1872. 

t** The Indians — Their Manners and Customs,*' by the Writer, 
p. 244. 


In 1842, Peter Jacobs, an Ojibway Indian and minis- 
ter of the Methodist Church, was stationed at Norway 
House as assistant missionary ; and in 1843, the Rev. 
William Mason was sent by the Conference of that 
year to Norway House, to be associated with James 
Evans. In this latter year the Rev. George Bamley 
was stationed at Moose Factory and Abittibe. Peter 
Jacobs went to Rainy Lake and Fort Alexander, and 
Robert T. Rundle was at Edmonton and Rocky Moun- 
tain House, all of the missions being under James 
Evans as General Superintendent. The printing of 
books and tracts in the Cree syllabic was continued 
by James Evans and his helpers, with the aid of a 
press made by the missionary himself, which, however, 
was replaced by a press and type sent from England, 
which performed the Work more speedily and per- 
fectly. Mrs. Evans assisted in the work as composi- 
tor, and as soon as Mr. H. B. Steinhauer was trans- 
ferred to Norway House, the work of translating the 
Scriptures into the language of the Cree Indians, and 
adapted to the syllabic systems was begun. Some of 
these translations were utilized during James Evans' 
residence at Ross ville, having been begun and continued 
under his supervision. 

Not, however, for some years afterward was the 
translation of the whole Bible completed. Mr 
Steinhauer having translated the Old Testament from 


Job to Malachi inclusive, and the New from Acts to 
Revelation inclusive, and Mr. Sinclair having translated 
the other books of the Old and New Testaments. The 
writer has in his possession one of the original manu- 
script copies of Genesis in the Cree syllabic, which is 
a fine specimen of penmanship. Owing to the growth 
of the missionary work and the absence of James 
Evans from Rossville, on missionary trips, it was felt 
that assistance was needed, and Mason came in the 
summer of 1843. In the old baptismal register of 
Eainy Lake, there are recorded in the handwriting of 
the Rev. William Mason one hundred and fifty-two 
baptisms. All the persons were baptized by him, the 
first being : i 

Alexander, son of William and Mary Sinclair, aged 
five months, of Fort Frances, District of Lac la Pluie 
(Rainy Lake), performed in 1840, and the last : 

Martha, daughter of Gebazonnaszung and Nundun- 
meg, of Lac la Pluie, and this ceremony was performed 
in 1842. The next baptism recorded was performed 
by the Rev. Peter Jacobs in 1843, and he exchanged 
places with the Rev. William Mason, Mr. Jacobs be- 
ing transferred by the Conference of 1843 to Rainy 
Lake. The work was so arranged that one of the 
missionaries was at Rossville during the absence of the 
other, and in this manner was the work of the outly- 
ing missions carried on successfully. Oxford House, 


two hundred and fifty miles distant, was visited, and 
even the far distant Saskatchewan heard the sound of 
the Gospel from the lips of Evans. At Fort Edmon- 
ton, the devoted Robert Terrill Rundle preached the 
Gospel faithfully to the Cree and Stony Indians. 

During the year 1845, he was residing within the 
Hudson's Bay Company's fort at Edmonton, when 
Paul Kane, author of " Wanderings of an Artist," met 
him, and received from him some assistance relative to 
journeyings in the Saskatchewan country. The artist 
has left some pleasant reminiscences of the zealous 
Bundle in his books upon the Indians. 

Evans ever faithful in the discharge of his duty, 
reproving Indian and Englishman alike for their sins, 
heedless of the diflFerence in their social positions, soon 
found opposition from those who had professed to be 
his friends. This, however, did not deter him from 
doing his duty, as he relied upon the power of the 
truth, the justice of his cause, and the help of God, 
and He prevailed; not in his own day, but in the latter 
days posterity has seen the truth triumphant and the 
character of the godly missionary fully vindicated. 



AT the inception of the Norway House Mission 
James Evans met Sir George Simpson, the 
Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, who received 
him with distinction and treated him with kindness. 
The establishment of Christian missions among the 
Indians was freely discussed, and the governor kindly 
offered his assistance in the maintenance of the mis- 
sions. The missionaries were to hold the same rank 
as the wintering partners or commissioned officers of 
the Company; the same allowance was to be given 
them, and when going out on missionary expeditions, 
canoes or other conveyances were to be furnished free 
of expense. In return for these material aids it was 
stipulated that the missionaries should not, in any 
way, interfere with the natives, so as to injure the 
interests of the Company.* This seemed perfectly 
legitimate, and no reasonable man could object to such 
a pleasant arrangement. 

Matters went on smoothly for a time. The canoes 
were furnished, and assistance was freely given to the 

♦** Twenty-five Years' Service in the Hudson's Bay Territory." 
By John McLean, Factor in Hudson's Bay Company. London, 
England, 1849. 


missionaries whenever needed, so that in the early 
years the servants of the Company were useful assist- 
ants in all mission work. James Evans did not, how- 
ever, intend that any arrangement should interfere 
with his declaration of the truth of God, and in the 
discharge of his duties toward his dusky parishioners 
there could not be any compromise with man. 

When the natives and employees of the Company 
attended the religious gatherings, they were taught to 
revere the Sabbath day, and follow the teachings of 
the Bible. There was nothing, apparently, wrong in 
this, and, indeed, it was the only course open for 
him, but the rigid observance of these truths was the 
cause of a long course of opposition which ended dis- 
astrously indeed. When the Indians began to rejoice 
in the consciousness of salvation, they refused to work 
on the Sabbath, and although threats were used, these 
failed to compel them to break the divine law. Upon 
a few occasions white men in the employment of the 
Company refrained from working on the Sabbath, 
and these were reproved for wasting their time and 
injuring the interests of the Company. 

James Evans sometimes travelled to distant posts, 
starting at the same time as the parties going from the 
forts, and by resting on the Sabbath while the others 
travelled, he always reached his destination first. 
Such evidences as this wrought powerfully upon the 
minds of the Indians, and the Christian converts 


steadily refused to toil on the Lord's Day. Sir George 
Simpson could not allow another master in the terri- 
tory owned by the Company, and he chafed under the 
growing influence of the missionary who could win 
men to obey the laws of God. Gradually and quietly 
the assistance given to James Evans and his fellow- 
missionaries was withdrawn, and serious charges were 
made by the Indians and white people, at the instance 
of officials in the Company's service, assisted by one of 
the missionaries who, filled with jealousy, had joined 
hands with the conspirators, and, in a foul manner, 
sought to destroy the reputation of a true man.* 

False witnesses were produced, who swore to the 
truth of the charges. In the meantime, the faithful 
missionary, careworn and sad, but brave and noble in 
the midst of his foes, continued his ministrations, re- 
proving the careless, warning men of the impending 
wrath of God for the transgression of the divine laws, 
and his influence gradually widened by means of the 
syllabic system. He felt, however, that the work was 
in a precarious condition, besieged by friends and foes, 
but, trusting in God, he labored on, rejoicing in the 
power of the truth to save the souls of men. Deter- 
mined to proceed to Athabaska on a missionary expe- 
dition, he went to the commander of the fort, and 
asked assistance, but this was refused. 

* Twenty-five Years' Service in the Hudson's Bay Territory." 
By John McLean. London, Eng., 1849, 


Taking with him Thomas Hassel, his faithful 
school teacher and interpreter, he set out for the 
Indian camps. This young man was a devoted 
Indian who became the constant companion of the 
missionary, ever ready to interpret the Gospel as it 
was preached to any band of Indians, willing to 
undergo any hardship for the sake of Christ, and able 
to translate hyms and portions of Scripture under the 
most trying circumstances. As they were crossing a 
small lake together, a flock of ducks flew overhead, and 
anxious to get a shot at them, James Evans drew out 
his gun, which lay under the seat of the canoe. In 
the act of doing so the gun was discharged, and its con- 
tents were lodged in faithful Hassel's breast, killing him 
instantaneously. With a heart full of sadness, and well- 
nigh distracted, the missionary returned to Rossville. 
Some of his friends advised him not to visit the rela- 
tives of the young man, or the band to which he be- 
longed, as the Indian customs demanded compensation 
for the dead. Invariably the law was a scalp for a 
scalp, a life for a life, or their equivalent. Trusting in 
God, his own innocence, and the love of the Indians, 
he went to the young man's home, and related all the 
circumstances of the sad calamity, offering to become 
a son in the place of the deceased. By adoption into 
the family his life was preserved, but he never re- 
covered from the blow. The Indians loved the man 


who had done so much for them, and who was ever 
anxious for their welfare, but his stern opposition to 
the use of intoxicating liquor among the Company's 
employees, as productive of great harm to the natives,' 
begat opposition to him and his work. Strong influ- 
ences were brought to bear against him, supported, and 
in some instances instigated, through the Governor 
insomuch that some of the Indians testified against 
the man who sought to do them good. The faithful 
toiler, well-nigh heart-broken, was recalled, and at last 
the scene of his labors, where he had labored hard to 
to lay the foundation of purity and material progress, 
had to be forsaken. Sad were the days spent in 
preparation for his departure. Friends and foes 
shunned him, as one who had been guilty of crimes, 
for the officials of the Company had opposed him, and 
no loving heart or hands were stretched forth to help 
him in his hour of distress. Faithful servant of God, 
thou hast not labored in vain, nor art thou alone in 
thy sorrow and solitude ! Blest companions of thy 
pain and isolation hast thou in the man of Uz ; 
Savonarola, the martyr of Florence; Carey, in 
India; and the immortal dreamer of Bedford jail. 
Thy God shall defend thee, when foes are many 
and strong ! 

James Evans bade farewell to the northern land, so 
full of sacred memories, and so dear to his heart. It 
was there he had devised and perfected his syllabic 


system, and from the primitive mission house there 
had gone forth portions of the Word of Life, 
printed on the home-made printing-press, and bound 
with his own hands. From this centre of missionary 
influences the truth had spread, and now sevetal 
hundreds of Indians were rejoicing in a consciousness 
of salvation. Many times had he stepped into his 
canoe and gone forth to tell the dusky sons and 
daughters of the forest, the good news of salvation 
through Christ, until he had listended with joy as the 
woods rang with the shouts of happy souls who had 
found the great Master of Life. A sad and long fare- 
well, a weary journey to Eastern Canada, and then to 
England he sailed away. A thorough investigation 
was made relative to the charges which had been 
preferred against him, and in every instance he was 
declared innocent. Not a single charge was proven, and 
then were found out the organized efforts which had 
been put forth to tarnish the reputation of an honest 
man by foes and professed friends. He had no sooner 
reached the shores of England than a general demand 
was mtlde for his services at missionary meetings. 
Although in feeble health, he gladly responded to the 
call, and was in labors more abundant. His stories of 
missionary life in the valleys of the Saskatchewan, 
along the rivers and in the forests of Keewatin and 
Athabaska, aroused the sympathy and love of the 
Christian people ass/3mbled at the missionary gather* 


ings, and great was the joy of the churches because of 
the spread of the knowledge of Christ among men. 
His thrilling tales of missionary heroism and native 
devotion touched the hearts of many who wept for 
joy as they listened to this new romance of modern 
missions. These people had heard of Moffat's success 
in Africa, the story of Carey's devotion and linguistic 
labors in India, and Henry Martyn's zeal and conse- 
cration in Persia were familiar to their ears ; but the 
salvation of the Cree Indians and the invention of the 
syllabic system was something new in missionary 
annals, and their delight was unbounded. Burning 
with love for his work, he spared not himself, although 
in feeble health, but in charming language and with 
holy eloquence he told anew the story of his life. A 
missionary meeting was held at Keilby, Lincolnshire, 
on November 23rd, 1846, attended by a large con- 
course of people, where he spoke on his much-loved 
theme, and after the meeting, having retired to his 
room he suddenly passed away from the land of pain 
and trouble to be forever with the Lord. In the 
Minutes of the British Conference of 1847, the follow- 
ing obituary was published relating to the man and 
his work : 

"James Evans was a missionary of remarkable 
ability and zeal, and of great usefulness among the 
North American Indians. His success among the 
aborigines of Canada led to his appointment as Gen- 


eral Superintendent of the recently formed missions 
in the Hudson's Bay Territory, To his mental vigor 
and indomitable perseverance the Indians are indebted 
for many advantages ; among these is a written and 
printed character, suited to their language, of which 
Mr. Evans was the inventor. Many were the afflic- 
tions and trials he had to endure ; these issued in a 
failure of health, which rendered his return home 
desirable, but the results were not favorable. He 
died suddenly at Keilby, in Lincolnshire, on the 23rd 
November, 1846, at the house of a friend, after 
attending a missionary meeting, at which his state- 
ments had excited great interest." 

Thus lived and died James Evans, at the age of 
forty-six years. His years were not many, yet he 
lived long, for his work wcua great and enduring. 
Despite all the influences of opposition at work, the 
man still lives in the missions established, souls won 
for Christ, and the translations of God's Word. After 
the withdrawal of James Evans from Norway House, 
William Mason was left in charge of the Norway 
House Mission, and was stationed at Rossville. He 
remained there until the year 1854, when he left the 
Conference and united with the English Church. In 
July of that year he was ordained priest at Fort 
Garry by Bishop Anderson, and appointed to York 
Factory, whither he went in August. 

Having been associated with Evans, Jacobs and 
Steinhauer for several years, he knew all the work 


which was engaged in by them, and became conver- 
sant with the Cree language, doing some good work 
among the Indians. Some time after, Mr. Mason went 
to England on a visit, and took with him the manu- 
script translations of the Bible which had been made 
by Steinhauer and Sinclair, which had been entrusted 
to him, and were to be printed by the British and 
Foreign Bible Society. When this work was finished, 
Mr. Mason allowed his name to be put upon the title- 
page as the translator of the Bible. It has also been 
claimed on behalf of Mason that he was the inventor 
of the Cree syllabic characters, and the writer has 
seen this claim put forth on his behalf through the 
columns of the religious press within the past three 
years. The claim, however, is at variance with the 
facts. Before William Mason had ever come in con- 
tact with the Northern Crees, and while he was still a 
missionary at Lac la Pluie, James Evans had sent to 
England specimens of the type which he had made 
himself, and also a few translations made in these 
characters. Some of these are still in existence, and 
in possession of the relatives of James Evans. Trans- 
lations were made in the Cree svUabic characters in 
1841, and a set of home-made types sent to England in 
that year, while William Mason did not go to Norway 
House until 1843. The writer has heard H. B. Stein- 
hauer repeatedly tell the story of his translations 
when living with Evans and Mason at Norway House. 


The testimony of the missionaries of the Boman 
Catholic and Protestant Churches, many of whom the 
writer has conversed with, is that Evans alone planned 
and perfected the syllabic system. Every writer of 
the early period asserts that Evans was the sole in- 
ventor. Ballantyne, in " Hudson Bay ; or, Every- 
Day Life in the Wilds of North America," page 159, 
says : " In fine weather I used to visit my friend Mr. 
Evans, at Rossville, where I had always a hearty wel- 
come. I remember on one occasion being obliged to 
beg the loan of a canoe from an Indian, and having a 
romantic paddle across part of Playgreen Lake. I 
had been offered a passage in a boat which was going 
to Rossville, but was not to return. Having nothing 
particular to do, however, at the time, I determined to 
take my chance of finding a return conveyance of 
some kind or other. In due time I arrived at the par- 
sonage, where I spent a pleasant afternoon in saunter- 
ing about the village, and in admiring the rapidity 
and ease with which the Indian children could read 
and write the Indian language by means of a syllabic 
alphabet invented by their clergyman. The same 
gentleman afterwards made a set of leaden types, with 
no other instrument than a pen-knife, and printed a 
great many hymns in the Indian language." 

The famous lady writer, Miss Tucker, better known 
as " A. L. 0. E.," in her book, " The Rainbow of the 


North," p. 257, published in 1851, while William Mason 
was still residing at York Factory, writes : 

" During the Bishop's stay at York Fort four Indians 
applied for baptism. Two of them resided on the 
spot. They were half-brothers, and it appeared that 
one of them, who went by the name of John, had, four 
years before, visited Norway House, where he heard 
the Gospel preached by one of the Wesleyan mission- 
aries. Anxious to know more, he procured a copy of 
the Cree alphabet, of which he soon made himself 
master ; he then obtained a catechism in the same lan- 
guage, which, with indefatigable perseverance and by 
embracing every opportunity of help from others, he 
learnt to read. He communicated his knowledge to 
his brother Joseph, whose heart also was touched, and 
they were now both of them candidates for admission 
into the visible Church. The other two were also 
brothers ; they came from Fort Churchill, 180 miles to 
the north of York Fort, and had, it seems, long ago 
received religious instruction from one of the Com- 
pany's officers, Mr. Harding." 

In a foot-note to the above, the authoress adds: 
" These were but rare, as the alphabet and catechism 
were in peculiar characters, invented by the late Mr. 
Evans, a Wesleyan missionary." 

John McLean, a factor in the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, and author of a book, " Twenty-five Years' Ser- 
vice in the Hudson's Bay Territory," and published in 
London, England, in the year 1849, states that Mr. 
Evans, " with his pen-knife cut the types, and formed 


the letters from musket bullets ; he constructed a rude 
sort of press ; and, aided by Mrs. Evans as compositor, 
he at length succeeded in printing prayers and hymns 
and passages of Scripture for the use of the Indians." 

In a paper published in " The Proceedings of the 
Canadian Institute," page 166, October, 1889, the Rev. 
Father A. G. Morice, O.M.I., Stuart's Lake, B.C., in 
writing upon "The Western D^n^s — Their Manners 
and Customs," says that in order to teach the Ddn^s 
to read and write their own language, " he has had to 
compose a syllabic alphabet somewhat on the principle 
of that so suitably invented by the late Mr. Evans for 
the Cree language ; but which he soon found to be 
totally inadequate to render correctly the numerous 
and delicate sounds of the D^n^ dialects." 

Since the early days of missionary work in the land 
of the Northern lights, an extensive literature in the 
syllabic characters has sprung up under the devoted 
labors of Protestant and Roman Catholic missionaries.* 

Books of a religious nature have been translated by 
English Church missionaries and published in Eng- 
land, and several books have been translated by 
Methodist missionaries, which have been printed in 
En<yland, but during the past year a font of type has 
been brought to Canada, and a hymn-book has been 
printed in the syllabic characters in Toronto. The 

* *'The Indians— Their Manners and Customs," pp. 255-258. 
By the Writer. 


Koman Catholic missionaries have availed themselves 
of Evans' invention, and for many years translations 
have been printed in these characters. These books 
are silent teachers of truth to men and women in the 
Indian camps. The Bible in the syllabic has been 
exerting a powerful influence for good among the 
members of the vast constituency speaking the Cree 
language. Oftentimes Stony Indians have visited 
the Macleod mission house, occupied by the writer, 
and from under their blanket-coats they have drawn 
copies of the Bible, well thumbed, giving evidence of 
having been used to good purpose. Indians have 
found the way to peace through reading the books 
given to them by Christian Indians. Travelling bands 
of Indians have gone out on hunting expeditions hun- 
dreds of miles from their home, and seated beside the 
camp-fire have sung to their pagan brethren the songs 
of Zion, which have stirred deeply the hearts of their 
dusky friends. Then taking out their Cree books 
they have taught them how to read, so that without 
ever having seen a white teacher they have learned 
the story of the love of Christ. Far in the north a 
band of hunters met a pagan band of Indians who 
had never heard of Christ. They told them the won- 
derful story, and by means of the syllabic characters 
the pagans were in a short time enabled to read. The 
Christian Indians remained long enough with them to 
make them acquainted with the syllables, and then 


when they were parting the pagans begged for copies 
of the Word of God. Unable to comply with the 
request, and still anxious to help them in the way of 
life, they tore their Bibles into parts and divided them 
among the people. 

A number of Indians called at the Rossville mission 
house during E. R. Young's residence there, seeking 
religious instruction. They had copies of the Great 
Book and were able to read it, but were not able to 
understand, so they had come a journey of thirteen 
nights that they might learn more about the Saviour 
of men. A copy of the Bible was shown them^ which 
they read with perfect ease. They had never seen a 
missionary, and lived hundreds of miles from a mission 
house, still they were able to read the Bible. The 
Hudson's Bay Company's agent had some copies of the 
Bible in the Evans' syllabic characters, which they 
had seen, and obtained possession of. They visited a 
band of Christian Indians at a long distance from their 
own home, and from them they received help, so that 
they were soon able to read. So well pleased were they 
that they remained with the band for some time, and 
then they returned to tell the story they had heard to 
others. Thus, without any teacher or missionary, many 
of the Indians in the forest and along the rivers and 
lakes of that northern land have learned to read the 
Word of God for themselves. Some years after the 
death of James Evans, the Rev. Thomas Hurlburt (1857) 


was stationed at Norway House, and the old com- 
panion of the deceased missionary translated some 
tracts and utilized the printing press at Bossville in 
printing three thousand copies of a book comprising 
one of the Gospels and four of the Epistles. The stitch- 
ing and binding was done by Miss Adams, the school 
teacher, and his pressman was an Eskimo. The sylla- 
bics have been used by the Indians as a means of 
correspondence, letters being written upon birch-bark. 

Since the early days, mission work has been con- 
tinued, and now Boman Catholic, English Church, 
Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries are laboring 
among the Cree Indians. 

The Stony Indians read the Evana' syllabic char- 
acters and write them freely and neatly. Missionary 
work has brought peace and prosperity to the Indian 
tribes. Listen to the Christian songs that float upon 
the evening air as the aged chief leads the devotions of 
his family, and then the whole camp is resounding with 
the praises of God. Many of the privileged sons and 
daughters of Christian homes have been pricked to 
the heart when in that land of snow they have wit- 
nessed the devotion of the red men to the Christian's 
God and their love for the Bible. 

Lord Southesk, who visited that country, says in his 
book, " Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains," page 
260, " Our Stony messenger met us on the road, bring- 


ing me a letter from his people, written in the Cree 
syllabic characters. It was translated to me as follows : 

** We thank God for sending us such a great man ; 
we send our compliments to him ; we will receive him 
as a brother." Again on page 259, he says : 

" At night a bell was rung in the Assiniboine camp, 
and the Indians all joined in singing hymns, as they 
do every night. The service lasted some time. It 
was a sort of a chant, the men and women occasionally 
singing in parts. Their preacher is an aged and vener- 
able man. He learned Christianity from another 
Indian, I believe, but his gift of preaching is entirely 
self -developed. Mr. Woolsey had since occasionally 
visited these people, who, as far as I could learn, are 
now well instructed in the Christian faith, and cer- 
tainly carry out its precepts in their lives." 

The Cree literature in the Evans* syllables was an 
agent of peace during the rebellion in the North-West. 
When superstition, hatred and fear were stirring the 
hearts of the Indians in the valley of the Saskatchewan 
the native teachers of righteousness and the mission- 
aries were counselling peace, and as the Indians read 
anew the Word of God, they determined to live at 
peace, and seek help from God. Shortly after the 
rebellion, when the three Indian chiefs — Pakan, Sam- 
son and Bear's Paw — visited Ontario under the guid- 
ance of Rev. John McDougall, much interest was taken 
in their utterances as indicative of the power of the 
Christian truth. Chief Pakan, of Whitefish Lake, 
felt keenly the loss o£ H. B. Steinhauer, who had 


died a short time before the uprising of the Indians, 
and whilst mourning the departure of his friend, the 
Cree Indians revolted. 

Loyal and brave he remained, although some of 
Chief Big Bear's men sought to tamper with his young 
men. When referring to these times, during his visit to 
the east, he said : "As nearly as I can learn, I am now 
forty-six years of age, therefore I date beyond the 
incoming of the first missionary ; and even after he 
came, I was distant from him, and only heard by 
rumor of his having come. Therefore, I saw much 
evil; I was with my people, far away in heathenism, 
and in everything that was wrong. Later the mis- 
sionary reached our camp, and a change began to be 
apparent ; and by-and-by, though wild, and stubborn, 
and wicked, the change affected me, Jesus Christ 
touched my heart, and I also embraced His religion ; 
and I have made Him ray Chief from that day unto 
this. I owe a great debt of gratitude to my old mis- 
sionary, who recently left us, Mr. Steinhauer ; he and 
other missionaries have done me great good, and have 
also done a great and grand work for my people. 
Later on, my people asked me to stand up for them, 
and I became their chief. They said, ' Try and help 
us on, and do not set any foolish example.' Last 
spring an opportunity came; we were approached 
with guns, and asked to take up our guns against the 
white man ; we were dared not to do so ; but I said in 


my heart, I want to keep his law, as^I have embraced 
the law of the God he worships. I shall not go with 
you, nor shall any of my people. My people want to 
improve ; I feel we have improved wondrously. We 
want to be like the white people, and make progress 
in civilization, and that which shall be everlasting in 
its benefit. As I feel that you are my friends, in 
listening to me as I speak, and in welcoming me as I 
come before you, I ask you still to be my friends, that 
not my band only, but my whole nation may rise in 
the scale of civilization and Christianity." 

The zeal manifested by the Indians in the cause of 
Christ is great, when we consider their ancestry, native 
religious ideas and customs, and the numerous diffi- 
culties attending labor in that land. East and west, 
and far in the frozen north, the influence of the 
devoted Evans has spread, until missions have been 
established by the churches, and missionaries and 
teachers have gone among the lodges and erected 
school-houses and places for worship, where young and 
old may study the works and words of God, through 
the simple method devised by this sainted man. 

He has gone from us ; but his work is enduring and 
his record on high.